Essay about Atoms of the Future

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Atoms of the Future

One of the most overlooked issues in the world today is that of our rapidly decreasing sources of energy. The majority of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels; coal, oil, and natural gas are burned in order to generate our electricity. But many people, both politicians and common people alike, fail to realize fossil fuels are not renewable, and are being depleted rapidly. Furthermore, the burning of fossil fuels does immense damage to our environment. Burnt fossil fuels release vast amounts of green house gasses, namely carbon dioxide and methane, as well as hundreds of other toxic pollutants into our atmosphere (Spiro 37). These waste products are doing huge amounts of damage to our planet, including, but
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Nuclear power is both an environmentally safe and highly efficient source of energy. A nuclear power plant is essentially the same the thing as a standard fossil fuel powered power plant; the only difference is the fuel. In a fossil fuel power plant, coal, oil or natural gas is burned, generating heat and heating water. This hot water then generates steam, which spins a turbine, spinning a generator, creating electricity. In a nuclear power plant, the radioactive element Uranium-235 is induced into a controlled nuclear reaction, which generates the heat in order to create the steam needed to power the generator. This nuclear reaction is called nuclear fission. In the reactor of a nuclear power plant, a neutron is shot at the nucleus of a U-235 and causes the U-235 to split into two lighter atoms. When this happens, a high amount of heat is released, as well as either two or three more neutrons. These additional neutrons are then absorbed by another U-235 nucleus, causing the heat releasing reaction to occur over and over again ( To ensure that the reaction does not get out of control and result in a reactor core melt down, a series of control rods can be lowered and raised in and out of the reactor core. These control rods are

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