What are the advantages of using nuclear energy?

Written by alan donahue
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Nuclear energy may be looked at in a negative light, but anyone who understands the process and production that goes into creating nuclear energy can see that there are advantages with the energy source as well. These advantages help make nuclear energy one of our best sources of energy and the question just depends on whether the good outweighs the bad and if nuclear energy is really worth it.

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Before you can fully understand the way that nuclear energy has advantages, you need to know the process that goes behind creating nuclear energy. First, uranium is taken from natural resources and then put through an enrichment process that makes the uranium ready for the nuclear reactor. Once the uranium is ready, it goes through a process known as "fission." This process splits one atom into two and that splitting causes a chain reaction through the whole element. This chain reaction creates heat energy that is used to boil water and create high pressured steam. The steam spins and powers a turbine connected to a generator that provides electricity.

Benefits

Nearly 20% of the United States' electricity is provided by nuclear reactors. Each separate reactor actually creates more power output than a typical coal plant because the reactors are generally larger. Nuclear reactors do not burn any fossil fuels so the plants do not give off any emissions or pollution into the air. This is very beneficial because pollution and burning has caused a greenhouse effect that could dramatically affect future generations.

Considerations

When compared with fossil fuel plants, nuclear reactors could have a huge advantage over them beneficially. Like mentioned before, the nuclear reactors do not emit emissions into the air, and some of those plants are more efficient than fossil fuel plants. On average a nuclear power plant is 33% efficient. This may not sound like a lot, but coal plants are actually a little less efficient, around 30 to 32% efficient. The little difference can add up over time and create a huge advantage for nuclear plants.

Potential

If more nuclear plans are ever created, more power could be supplied through the United States. This would cut off coal burning plants and allow emission figures to lessen. Once a proper storage system is in place for nuclear waste, a huge disadvantage will be taken away from the plants and give more of a positive spin on the outlook of nuclear power.

Warning

Even with all of the benefits coming from nuclear power plants, there are still some big dangers. Explosions or meltdowns in plants can spread harmful radiation through the air, potentially causing diseases like cancer and sometimes death.

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