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8 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What is Nuclear Energy?
Nuclear energy is the massive amount of energy produced by the splitting or joining of the nuclei of unstable atoms.
Elements containing unstable atoms are called radioactive elements.
Uranium is the main source of nuclear power.
The form of uranium known as U-235 is the least stable and releases the most energy when its nucleus breaks apart.
NUclear Fission
This is one way to release nuclear energy from inside the nucleus of an atom by splitting it.
When the nucleus splits, atomic particles called neutrons are released along with a massive amount of energy that can be felt as heat.
When neutrons from one nucleus collide and split the nuclei of other atoms nearby, this is called a chain reaction.
Nuclear Fusion
Nuclear fusion occurs when the nuclei of atoms are joined together.
When certain materials are heated to millions of degrees, the nuclei are squashed together very fast. This produces a massive amount of energy. Tis is known as nuclear fusion.
Sun produces light to shine through nuclear fusion.
How is Electricity produced in a Nuclear reactor?
The nuclear reactor uses splitting of nuclei to create heat energy needed to boil water.
This water produces steam which is highly pressurized.
The power of this high pressure steam provides mechanical energy by turning the blades of the turbines.
The blades are connected to a shaft which is attached to a generator.
Inside the generator, the shaft makes magnets spin inside wire coils to produce electricity.
Concerns about Nuclear Power
Of all the worlds energy sources, people are most frightened about nuclear power.
This fear is fuelled due to the history of wrong usage of nuclear energy.
Many people are protesting against the planning and construction of future nuclear plants in Canada.
Should the Canadian Government continue to develop nuclear plants to meet future energy demands?
This has been a major debate topic over the past few years.
Environmental groups and environmentalists like David Suzuki firmly believe that the government should stop developing more and more nuclear plants.
Businesses and other organizations argue that it will be foolish for the government to stop developing nuclear plants to meet future energy demands.
Canada has invested plenty of money on building more nuclear reactors and more nuclear plants.
The Canadian government has invested a mind-boggling amount of approximately 550 billion dollars on the research and development of nuclear plants.
Nuclear energy is very clean and does not release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The usage of nuclear plants to produce electricity prevents 2.2 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide from going into the atmosphere every year.
Nuclear power is the safest form of energy used in the world.
Experts argue that if all the radioactivity in nuclear waste burial grounds will leak out and spread through the soil, there would not be a single death. Radiation would have 1 chance in a billion to get into human food and 1 chance in 100 000 of entering a person’s lungs.
Public support for nuclear energy has increased due to the fear of climate change.
The Canadian Nuclear Association found that support for nuclear power has risen over 2 years to 44% from 35%. This shows that more Canadians are going green.
Nuclear energy produces lots of high level wastes which remains deadly for millions of years.
There are 40 000 tonnes of high level radioactive wastes at the 22 reactor sites in Canada. This stockpile will double if Canada’s reactors are not permanently closed over the next 15 years.
Ontario’s reactors are getting older and accidents are most likely to occur.
A radiation release from a damaged reactor could make large parts of southern Ontario uninhabitable for thousands of years. Approximately 3,300 people will die from immediate deaths.
Managing nuclear waste is very expensive. Ontario Hydro is bankrupt due to the high cost of maintaining reactors and disposing wastes.
Ontario Power Generation admitted that the long term management of radioactive waste would cost up to $18 billion.
Nuclear energy is unreliable as power plants have been shut down many times.
Some of the nuclear reactors of the Pickering Nuclear Plant have been shut down more than 4 times over a period of 4 years.
Decision made regarding this issue
Nuclear power stations cannot be shut down as the government has invested more than 550 billion dollars in it.
If nuclear plants are shut down, approximately 4 500 jobs will be lost.
It would cause a great slump for the Canadian economy.
If plants are shut down, we will not have enough energy. As nuclear plants produce 13% of the electricity in Canada.
Ramifications of Decision
Environmentalists and environmental groups will not be pleased with the decision.
Our government might not be elected in the next elections by the people against our decision. But approximately 44% of the population in Canada support the usage of nuclear energy.
Many rallies and protests will be held against the government’s decision.
The government could try to appease the group by assuring that they would use nuclear power until they have found another reliable alternate source of energy.