Nuclear Energy Program

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For years electricity has been a very important part of our everyday life. Just in 2013, around 3,831 billion kilowatt hours were consumed by the U.S alone ("Use of Electricity"). All of this energy is produced primarily by industrial and manufacturing facilities ("Use of Electricity"). With this, most of our electricity comes from coal ("Why Clean Energy”), and although a good amount of electricity comes from renewable sources, I believe it’s not enough. When these fossil fuels are burned, harmful gases are released into the atmospheres. ("Why Clean Energy”). Due to these gases, the diversity and health of our ecosystems are in peril ("Why Clean Energy”). In view of these concerns, I believe we should expand our nuclear energy program because …show more content…
These nuclei usually undergo some decay processes to rid themselves of any excess atoms. Although there are many of these processes, nuclear power plants focus on a process known as fission. Fission occurs when radioactive elements split into smaller elements with intermediate mass. In the case of uranium-235, with each decay process, a neutron is released (Sarquis). With these extra neutrons, a new reaction can take place with another uranium-235 atom and continue as such, causing a chain reaction. This process releases a lot of energy - 215 MeV, to be exact (“Uranium-235 Fission”) - and this energy can be harnessed to produce heat, nuclear reactors use this. A nuclear reactor has four main components: shielding, fuel, control rods and moderators (Sarquis). The shielding is a radiation-absorbing material that is placed in a reactor to protect employees from its lethal radiation. Fuel is provided by the unstable atom, in this case uranium-235. Control rods are then placed inside the reactor to control the amount of neutrons to have a controlled chain reaction. The heat that is produced evaporates water and creates steam, which turns a turbine. As a precaution, moderators control the speed of neutrons so unwanted penetrations of the nucleus can be prevented (Sarquis). This process …show more content…
Many people have tried to control explosion like such, but most end up failing. Due to this, many organizations have taken it upon themselves to improve safety near nuclear reactors and many safety procedures have been introduced. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has established a mandatory probabilistic safety analysis test that must be passed before the plant becomes operative ("Safety of Nuclear Reactors”). Additionally, today’s plants to control the possibility of a release of a radioactive material. A ‘defense-in-depth’ approach is made to achieve optimum safety. This includes: high quality construction, equipment which prevents disturbances or human failures, comprehensive monitoring and testing, diverse systems to control damage, and provision to confine elements ("Safety of Nuclear

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