In the United States, nuclear power controls close to 20% of the electricity. Therefore, citizens use nuclear energy daily in their lives. Nuclear power is the power created from controlled nuclear reactions. The power source is the heat generated by a controlled nuclear fission chain reaction. The reaction involves uranium or plutonium being hit by a neutron and splitting. Nuclear power is very controversial, especially among environmentalist. Here are 10 very important nuclear power facts that people need to keep in mind:
10. Nuclear power is not dependent on fossil fuels: Nuclear power plants produce a small amount of carbon dioxide, while natural gas or coal plants have a huge discharge of the gas. Therefore, because nuclear energy produces less fossil fuels, then the price cannot skyrocket like oil and gas prices.
9. Statistics show that thousands of people in the United States die each year as a result of illnesses caused by the burning of coal. However, no person in America has died as a result of radiation exposure produced by power plants.
8. Radioactive waste disposal difficulties: It is a problem to get rid of radioactive waste. The United States has no permanent site for nuclear waste disposal. There is no off switch for radioactivity, so experts are forced to bury it deep underground.
7. Nuclear power plants are a means for nuclear weapons production: There is no assurance that a country will not try to use nuclear power as a weapon of mass destruction. Nuclear energy could be used to make hydrogen or atomic bombs. Therefore, there is a huge risk involved in the production of nuclear power.
6. Nuclear energy is reliable: Because nuclear power plants rely on a small amount of fuel, they are less susceptible to shortages because of natural disasters. It is easily dispersed throughout the world.
5. Nuclear plants could be the target of a terrorist attack: This is the most alarming of the nuclear power facts. The world today is concerned that a terrorist will attack will occur and have catastrophic effects on the country. If nuclear power falls into the wrong hands, it would be disastrous.
4. Radioactive exposure: Any time radioactive material is unleashed; there is a danger of radioactive exposure. If the nuclear energy is not properly buried, it can result in individuals getting cancer or other serious diseases.
3. Energy independence: Nuclear power comes from uranium and plutonium, and there are abundant supplies of uranium in the United States. Plutonium is produced by the process of nuclear fission. Swapping oil burning power plants with nuclear power plants would assist in creating energy independence.
2. It creates energy: This is probably the most important advantage of the nuclear power facts. A nuclear power plant generates energy by splitting atoms. The heat produced by nuclear power can give power to many functions.
1. Meltdowns or Accidents: This is the #1 important piece of information about nuclear power facts. A nuclear meltdown occurs when there is a severe shortage of coolant water in the nuclear reactor. This can lead to grave consequences. The worst nuclear disaster in history was in 1987 at the nuclear power plant Chernobyl, which is in Russia. This tragedy killed thousands of people. The worst nuclear disaster in the United States happened in 1979 in Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island plant. Fortunately, there were no deaths, but it is not known how many people suffered effects of radiation poisoning and died at a later time. If such a disaster occurs, it could destroy everything in its path.
While nuclear disasters are fatal, fortunately, they are very rare. People from around the world are greatly benefitting from nuclear power, but are the associated risks worth it?