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 Nuclear power assignment

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Jeremy

Jeremy

Number of posts : 70
Age : 25
Location : Ayr, QLD
Title : Sir postalot
Registration date : 2008-09-17

PostSubject: Nuclear power assignment   Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:18 pm

Hey, I'm doing an assignment on Nuclear Power... and when I told my brother I was doing one, he told me he did one when he was in year 11. I wrote three paragraphs of my assignment, before looking at his. They're practically the same. I think I'm just going to hand in his - I'll probably get an A, at least!

It's due on this Friday.
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Jeremy

Jeremy

Number of posts : 70
Age : 25
Location : Ayr, QLD
Title : Sir postalot
Registration date : 2008-09-17

PostSubject: Re: Nuclear power assignment   Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:17 pm

Nuclear Energy in Australia?

At present, more and more greenhouse gases are being produced by coal power stations across Australia. As the demand for energy increases, many people are becoming concerned about the effects that these greenhouse gasses contribute to global warming. An effective alternative to coal generated power will need to be developed quickly in order to prevent further damage to the environment. As a leading producer of greenhouse gasses, Australia drastically needs to alter its energy program and switch to more efficient power sources. One possible solution to this problem is nuclear power.
Nuclear energy was discovered in the early 1900ís but it wasnít until 1942 till scientists discovered how to release this energy. This led to the development of the nuclear bomb, which helped to end world war two, with the detonation of these bombs on the two major Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It wasnít until 1945 until scientists discovered how to harness this energy, with the invention of the nuclear reactor.

There are essentially three main positives and four main negatives associated with nuclear power.
Negatives:
1. Most of todayís reactors use a rare type of uranium called U-235 which only naturally occurs naturally in the environment 0.71% of the time. 99.28% of the time, U-238 is found. Experts believe that in most countries that by 2050, uranium will be two expensive to drill. According to these experts, if nuclear power was fully developed, it could entirely replace fossil fuels as an energy source.
2. Nuclear power stations cost more to build than fossil-fuel power stations.
3. There are many government regulations put in place in case of emergencies, which can limit the efficiency of the power station.
4. Nuclear power stations produce harmful radioactive waste, which needs to be put into isolation for a long period of time to achieve neutralization. Building a facility in central of Australia to hold the waste. This would most likely be the best choice, because there is an extremely small population living in the central area of Australia. Building a facility here would result in minimal environmental disturbance.
Positives:
1. Nuclear energy produces no chemical pollutants which can be released into the air.
2. Nuclear power stations are significantly cheaper to than fossil-fuel power stations to sustain once built.
3. Nuclear power stations can produce a great deal of more energy than fossil fuel energy with significantly less fuel.
Many Experts believe that the positives outweigh the negatives.
A nuclear reactor works somewhat like a furnace used to burn coal, except uranium is used instead of coal and a tiny proportion of uranium is needed to create the same amount of energy. Nuclear Fission is a very effective power source. The fission of one kilogram of uranium is equivalent to the burning 3000 kilograms of coal. A 1000 MWe power station consumes about 3.1 million tonnes of black coal each year, whereas only about 24 tonnes of enriched uranium is needed for the same power output. The enormous difference in the quantities of fuel used also affects the quantities of waste produced after the electricity has been generated.
Nuclear power stations produce energy by using a method known as Nuclear Fission. This process involves the firing of a neutron at a large nucleus (Uranium or Plutonium). This causes the large nucleus to split and release more neutrons. These neutrons cause further fission to occur, thus creating a chain reaction. During this process energy is released, which can be used to boil water, produce steam and drive a turbine that generates electricity.
Each year a 1000MWe Nuclear reactor will produce about 27 tonnes of solid waste. However, due to a method known as Reprocessing, 95% of this waste can be recovered and reused. The remaining 5%, about 1.3 tonnes, is highly radioactive waste which is potentially hazardous and needs to be isolated from the environment for a very long time. However, the small quantity makes the task quite manageable; it is able to be isolated in storage and transport with minimal difficulty. On the other hand a 1000MWe Coal-fired power station produces about 7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, plus perhaps 200,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, which in many cases remains a major source of atmospheric pollution. Other wastes produced from the burning of coal include large quantities of fly ash, containing toxic metals and other harmful substances.

Source: http://www.eia.doe.gov/
This graph shows the worldwide figures of nuclear energy usage. Immediately, one can see that many large, first-world countries use a large percentage of nuclear energy, including France, Japan, USA, the U.K., Russia, Canada and India. These figures are rising, and itís apparent that Australia is being left in the dark behind these advancing countries.
Based on these comparisons one would agree that nuclear power should be implemented in Australia as quickly as possible. However, a common question raised by people is centered on the safety of nuclear power stations. People tend to associate nuclear power plants with nuclear bombs. They believe that nuclear power plants are capable of exploding like a bomb and causing widespread death and destruction. The facts however, are that the enrichment of the uranium used in these plants is not great enough and all reactions are controlled. There also exists the fear of nuclear accidents occurring like Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. However, these were essentially one off accidents that, as long as nuclear power plants are built to standard, should never occur again.
With over 3000 research stations, People have made several changes to design of nuclear power plants since these disasters and modern nuclear power stations are a great deal safer than their coal burning counterparts. No other industry has invested so much time and money in the safety aspect of their business than the nuclear industry.
Currently in Australia about 77% of electricity is produced in coal power stations. This produces a huge amount of wastes each year and is a major contributor to global warming. Australia needs to establish a new method of generating electricity in the near future and gradually phase out the use of coal as a power source. Nuclear power is the only other fuel source that is able to provide large amounts of electricity and still be cost effective. Australia has large deposits of uranium in several locations across the country. This can be easily mined and be ready for use in power stations. Any means of producing electricity involves some wastes and environmental hazard. The nuclear industry is unique in that it is the only industry that takes full responsibility for disposal of all its wastes and meets the fuel cost of doing so. Nuclear energy has the potential to prevent billions of tonnes of greenhouse emissions in Australia and it is a must for Australiaís future.

1137 words

Here is my finished assignment(a modified version of my brother's).
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