Hello folks! I’m currently on my way to Bristol from London! An hour and 45 minutes of train ride, what better to do than write a blog post (I think I really deserve an award, at least for my effort…)? In my CO2 Emission post that I have been planning for around a year now (note: doesn’t mean I’ve been writing it for that long, just means that I only started writing it recently) I mentioned something about nuclear energy, and if you know me personally you would understand this is like my area of expertise! So today’s topic is NUCLEAR ENERGY (which I hope to have finished writing by the end of this train ride)! P.S. I ended up sleeping, and I finished most of the post again, however my whole draft just flew away because I was working offline… 😦
Warning: This next paragraph will talk about the scientific aspect of producing ‘nuclear energy’ (basically like an intro) if you’re not that interested, please skip it, instead of reading it and thinking its boring and just not reading the entire thing
So before I talk about the goods and bads of nuclear energy, I will talk about how the modern day nuclear energy is produced. The method, by which we produce ‘nuclear energy’ is called nuclear fission. The way nuclear fission works is that many grams of radioactive material (for example uranium) is compacted into a state called ‘critical mass’. Then these radioactive material is shot at by a neutron, and as an atom of the radioactive material is hit, it becomes unstable, thus sending out three more neutrons. These three neutrons which were expelled by the atom, it hits other atoms which continue that chain. Therefore, it causes a chain reaction, which continues on and on. As atoms expels neutrons, a massive explosion occurs, which generates heat. The explosion is caused, as the shot neutron splits the atom into two, which therefore leads to extra mass. Mass cannot be destroyed (according to the law of conservation of mass – that says mass cannot be created nor destroyed), so it changes into energy (as found by Einstein, which lead to the creation of the atomic bomb). If the reactions aren’t controlled, the heat will cause the lead casing, which the radioactive material is placed in to melt and cause a nuclear meltdown. So the reaction is controlled by lead rods that goes up and down, which is thick enough so that neutrons do not pass through. This isn’t the end of how energy is produced. Energy is produced by turbines situated above the reaction chamber, and the heat produced from the reaction chamber heats up the water located above it, turning into steam and therefore turning the turbines.
There are numerous sources of energy, which include: coal, solar, wind, hydro, biofuel, geothermal, nuclear, and more. However, the renewable energies, which are solar, wind, hydro are not as effective compared to the other sources of energy. For example, with solar, if there is no sun energy cannot be gathered that day, and wind cannot be gathered on a windless day. Same goes for hydro, when the region is facing droughts. On the other side, there are non-renewable energy source such as coal, which have bigger problems compared to renewable energy sources. Coal is a non-renewable resource, meaning there is a limit to the amount. Not only that, coal burning produces CO2, which helps Global Warming, which we should be doing our very best to stop. Therefore, coal-burning should be stopped.
Now what other resource remains? Nuclear. Energy produced by nuclear fission is massive, and incomparable to other sources of energy. However, it also has many flaws. Nuclear fission results in radioactive waste, with long half lives stored in some far away, hidden facility for hundreds of years. This storage facility is a security threat, and can be used to create Radiological Dispersal Devices (a bomb strapped on to radioactive material for the purpose of spreading radioactive material and cause radiation poisoning in the targeted region). Additionally, radioactive materials such as uranium are also limited, and there is a limit to which we can accomplish with nuclear fission.
So there are many problems with nuclear fission as well, however it is my belief nuclear energy is the best way to go. How is this so? My viewpoint is that nuclear is the way to go, but not nuclear fission. Another method of obtaining energy from nuclear is nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion is (warning scientific viewpoint) is the type of nuclear activity that happens in the sun. Nuclear fusion is when two nuclei smash together in an extremely heated environment. The joining together of the two nuclei causes excess mass, which leaves extra mass. As mass cannot be destroyed (according to the law of conservation of mass – that says mass cannot be created nor destroyed), it changes into energy (as founded by Einstein, which lead to the creation of the atomic bomb). Nuclear fusion, if done right wil be able to power full cities and it will not need ‘rare’ radioactive material, nor will it produce radioactive waste. However, modern technology doesn’t allow us to create the harsh environment, which allows nuclear fusion to happen. Therefore my belief is that we should financially support any ventures regarding researching nuclear fusion.
Now you may ask the question (maybe not), why haven’t any official investments by the government been made into nuclear fusion if its so good? People do not know that nuclear fusion is something different from nuclear fission – which they do not trust after Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima – and therefore protest against the government if they try to provide funding to these research. So now you know that nuclear fusion is something good, therefore DON’T OPPOSE IT! (By the way, it is possible that Adr5 will write about this)