Why Everyone Is Talking About Nuclear Energy Right Now

Nuclear Energy Reactor

A type of energy emitted by an atom’s nucleus, which is composed of protons and neutrons, is known as nuclear energy. Fission, which occurs when atom nuclei split into several pieces, and fusion, which occurs when nuclei combine, are the two methods in which this type of energy can be created.

Nuclear fusion technology is still in the research and development stage. Currently, it is used to create electricity throughout the world.

Nuclear fission

It is a reaction that splits an atom’s nucleus into two or smaller nuclei while also releasing energy. Every time the reaction takes place, energy is given out as heat and radiation. The heat from nuclear power plants may also be converted into electricity, much like the heat from fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil is used to do.

Nuclear Reactor Overview
Source: https://chemicalengineeringworld.com/nuclear-reactor-overview/

Nuclear energy power plant

Steam is created by heating water in nuclear power reactors. Huge turbines are used to generate the power, and the steam spins them. In nuclear power facilities, the heat produced during nuclear fission is used to warm water. Creates smaller atoms from larger ones, and releases energy. Fission takes place inside the reactor of a nuclear power station. The uranium fuel is housed inside the reactor’s core.

Ceramic pellets made of uranium fuel are created. The energy output of each ceramic pellet is comparable to that of 150 gallons of oil. These energy-dense pellets are stacked one on top of the other in 12-foot metal fuel rods. A fuel assembly is made up of a collection of fuel rods, some of which number in the hundreds. There are various fuel assemblies inside a reactor core.

A steam turbine’s blades are turned by the steam created when nuclear fission occurs in the reactor core. It heats the water to the point of boiling. Turbine blade rotation drives electricity-generating generators. Nuclear power facilities can use water from ponds, rivers, or the ocean, or they can use a cooling tower, a separate structure at the power plant where steam is converted back into the water. The water is utilized once more to produce steam after cooling.

Electricity Supplied Power Plant
Source :https://www.weforum.org/

Nuclear Power Plants around the world

Thirty-three nations had operating commercial nuclear power reactors in 2020, and in 17 of those nations, nuclear energy accounted for at least 20% of the nation’s yearly electricity production. The United States produced more nuclear electricity than any other nation and had the largest nuclear electricity production capacity. The largest portion—roughly 69%—of the total yearly power generated from nuclear energy was produced by France. It had the second-largest nuclear electricity generation capacity and the second-highest nuclear electricity generation.

The Role of Uranium

The metal uranium is present in rocks all across the planet. There are numerous naturally occurring isotopes of uranium, which are variations of an element with the same chemical composition but different masses and physical characteristics. The two original isotopes of uranium are uranium-238 and uranium-235. The bulk of uranium in the world is uranium-238, which cannot start a fission chain reaction. Uranium-235, on the other hand, can start a fission chain reaction. It makes up less than 1% of all uranium in the world.

It is necessary to raise the amount of uranium-235 in a given sample by a procedure known as uranium enrichment in order to improve the likelihood that natural uranium will undergo fission. After uranium has been enhanced, it can be used as nuclear fuel in power plants for three to five years before it becomes radioactive and needs to be disposed of in accordance with strict regulations to safeguard people and the environment. Additionally, spent fuel, also known as used fuel, can be recycled into new fuel for use in specialized nuclear power reactors.

Nuclear waste

The production of power generates waste, like all other industries. Regardless of the fuel used, the waste generated during the energy production process needs to be managed. In a way that protects public health and has the least negative effect on the environment. This entails isolating or diluting radioactive waste so that any radionuclides that are reintroduced to the biosphere at a harmless rate or concentration. To achieve this, almost all radioactive waste is managed and confined, however, some obviously demand permanent disposal deep underground. All waste from nuclear power generation is regulated; none is permitted to create contamination, in contrast to all other sources of thermal electricity generation.

The production of power generates waste

Radioactive waste makes up a very small part of the overall industrial hazardous waste generated in nations using nuclear power, hence all toxic waste needs to be handled securely, not just radioactive waste. The nuclear fuel cycle is not the only source of radioactive waste. Medicine, agriculture, research, industry, non-destructive testing, and mineral exploration all make substantial use of radioactive materials. The level of risk associated with any radioactive waste is reduced with time due to its radioactivity. Unlike other hazardous industrial materials.

Black Swan Effect

Black Swan Effect

Nuclear energy hazards appear to be a classic instance of black swan logic: they are so improbable as to be incomprehensible by conventional statistical methods. Although, they occur frequently enough that they cannot be handled as outliers and ignored as false.

If a rational discussion on nuclear energy is to be had in this era of supposedly evidence-based policymaking, such information needs to be disseminated more broadly.

Written by our Energy Enthusiast
Pavlos Hitiris

Pavlos Hitiris Author

Pavlos has a Bachelor’s in International and European Studies from the Panteion University of Athens. He has worked successfully at a Law Firm in Kolonaki, Athens. Currently, he is working at a Solution Provider/System Integrator Company in Athens. Postgraduate student of the MSc in Energy: Strategy, Law, and Economics at the University of Piraeus in the faculty of International and European Studies. Speaks Greek, English, and German. He is keen on Middle East culture and history.

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