Nuclear Power for Energy and Research Paper

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Energy
  • Type: Research Paper
  • Paper: #569960

Excerpt from Research Paper :

This can merely be helpful on local level but not at all on the global level.

Radioactive materials in low quantities are present in fossil fuels, chiefly in coal and using them in heavy amounts can have more hazardous effects on the environment causing radioactive contamination globally. This is a much more pressing concern when compared to the radioactive contamination within a nuclear power station as the noxious waste in them is properly managed and piled up.

Mercury, toxic heavy elements, arsenic and some other traces of hazardous elements are found in coal. Some elements like mercury which is released in the boiler of power plants can stay floating in the air and move around the globe's atmosphere. While the release of mercury because of various other man-made causes is well controlled in the environment, the significant stock of remaining mercury pollution is caused by the waste releases of power plants. In 2003, the release of mercury from power stations in United States was approximately 50 tons yearly and hundreds of tons yearly in China. Engineers who design these power plants can install different apparatuses to lessen these emissions.

As nuclear plants do not use fossil fuel as a regular energy source, they do not actually release CO2. Furthermore during the digging, mining, production improvement and supply of the nuclear fuels, the carbon dioxide released is less in comparison with Carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels producing the same energy. However, this does not mean that the Co2 released can be ignored as it can still cause environmental deterioration in the long run.

Also, heat produced by a huge power plant using nuclear energy can be dissipated in natural water which can have disastrous effects on the life in water because of immensely raised temperatures.

Discharged particles of radioactivity from within a nuclear plant are managed by a proper system. Even though these instances are rare, an atypical maneuver may end up discharging radioactive waste which could vary between being negligible to critical.

Excavating uranium ore can damage the atmosphere around the mine. Discarding used up fuel is very much debatable with various continuing storage methods being under evaluation and condemnation. Passing out fresh or used up fuel to arms manufacturers, risks nuclear proliferation. And finally, the nuclear facility itself becomes radioactive which takes many years of capital before it can be cost-effectively taken apart and put down as waste

Wind Power extracts mechanical energy from the steady course of air over the exterior of the Earth. Usually, wind power stations are placed in areas of high wind speeds, having wind farms and a large number of wind turbines. The main advertising concern for wind turbines is their older version like the Altamont Pass Wind Farm. Wind farms, such as this one, are old, small and are generally loud and compactly placed, making it a not-so attractive area to the common people. One disadvantage of these turbines is that it disturbs surrounding low-level winds. Alternatively, large turbines have diminished these issues and are now a profit earning source of energy. A large number of local people have setup such wind turbines in order to cut down on their power bills.

If established on an agricultural land, the latest kind of wind farms cause the least possible damage to the environment compared to other sources of energy. These wind farms need less space per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity when compared to every other renewable source of energy, except rooftop solar power, and can be used for grazing and harvesting.

The energy used on its manufacturing can be produced within months from its operation date. During the construction, air pollution and green house gas is been discharged that is low in quantity and is diminishing. This means that its operation do not generate any pollution or emission.

The speed of modern wind turbine systems with respect to the revolution per minute is really slow, however, which affects the overall production of energy as well. There are quite a few other hindrances face by these wind systems aside from their speed; some of these hindrances include topography of the region i.e. wind turbines are only effective in certain landscapes (like plain lands with heavy wind flow) -The opposition towards wind turbines is probably on the grounds of aesthetics; however, people should re-evaluate this aspect of aesthetics and look towards the dangers associated with the suggestions of broader community and climate change.

Germany and Spain are two countries that are significantly using solar photovoltaic power as the financial motives are provided by the Government. These financial motives have also been provided by Washington State of U.S. Photovoltaic as power works best in those areas which are highly exposed to sunlight

Its working is mainly dependent on its photovoltaic cell which normally transforms the radiation of sun into DC (direct current), and this DC power is changed into the alternative current, the AC and then finally sent to the power grid. Where are the references?

Moreover, the photovoltaic power has become another source for supply and to its cleanliness, apart from the existing fossil fuels, but its production cost is high. However, it is expected that as the technology improves in future, the cost can be curtailed and brought into the domain of competitive pricing.

The photovoltaic power has a major drawback that mainly influences the environment, as the manufacturing of photovoltaic cells require silica, a material obtained from sand. As silicon is obtained from silica, its extraction is possible by using Fossil fuel only. Nevertheless, the production of CO2 has been reduced due to advanced manufacturing processes. An upfront cost is associated with the solar power, but it definitely guarantees clean and pure energy throughout the solar cell's life.

The energy which is generated by the mechanism of absorbing sunlight, through huge mirrors, after which the heat that is absorbed gets transformed into electricity in a classical turbine, is termed as Solar Thermal energy.

Environmental risks and impacts with nuclear energy-

The plutonium has negative preferences due its consumption in the creation of bombs, however according to some other approaches it is regarded as a useful resource too. According to the analysis conducted on DOE fuel assemblies which will be released as spent fuel over the year 2030, the presence of plutonium in U.S. fuel assemblies is well enough to make 20 reactors for 40 years each. The half life of Plutonium-239 is 24,110 years which means its decaying process is very slow. The option of reprocessing can prove to be a good source for the future. Few of the byproducts of Plutonium which have been created by the operation of reactor should be highlighted prominently. For example, Plutonium can be an important element of bombs, by pressurizing on specialized departing of the Pu-239 isotope, being completed by Pu-240. The time period till the fuel assemblies are kept in the reactor is 3 to 5 years in the shape of radioactive fission products as garbage remains. After the operation of 1.5 years the waste which is being converted is about 2000 kg as highlighted above. Presently, for about 10 to 15 years the fuel assemblies were kept in cooling pools. After the completion of this process they are moved to some special barrels for storing purposes where air can be consumed for cooling. Presently, nitric acid is used to break the covering material and ceramic into solution, in order to get the waste and plutonium from the fuel which results in the creation of liquid wastage. The wastage in the form of liquid and spent fuel is very radioactive. The uses of radioactive materials produced in reactors are diagnosis and therapy treatments in medicine, radiography also referred to as weld inspection, power sources in distant locations, food irradiations and space applications (Marcela et al., 2008).

We can regard radioactive waste as a waste product that is comprised of radioactive material. Nuclear process, like nuclear fission, usually generates radioactive waste. It is not necessary that industries having direct contact with the nuclear power industry may generate radioactive waste; rather, unrelated industries may also be a source of radioactive waste (Marcela et al., 2008).

With the passage of time, radioactivity decreases. Hence, it is important to isolate the waste till it diminishes and may not prove to be a danger any longer. The time ranges from days, weeks, months, or some years in industrial or medical radioactive wastes that are common. This range can extend to years in thousands in those industries that have high level wastes, such as nuclear weapons reprocessing and nuclear power plants (Marcela et al., 2008).

"Low-level waste" contributes significantly in the radioactive waste, and is regarded as such a waste in which the level of radioactivity per mass is relatively low. Segregation and shortage for short-term wastes are the approaches to manage the…

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