Nuclear Power


Producing energy from a plant is very complicated. The process of
nuclear energy involves the fission of atoms, the release of energy from fission
as heat, and the transfer of heat to electricity in power plants.
The process of splitting the atom is called nuclear fission. Fission can take
place in many different kinds of atoms. This explanation uses Uranium - 235,
the atom most commonly used in nuclear reactors. The Uranium atom has many
protons, thus making it unstable. Since the nucleus of the atom is so unstable
it wants to split itself apart, causing a spontaneous fission. When the nuclei
of a Uranium atom splits apart, it splits into two atoms. Commonly the nucleus
splits ...

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causing a chain reaction withut any outside assistance,
and the Uranium has "gone critical"(Martindale, 794-195). This chain reaction
is the basis for how nuclear power is made.

The amount of the energy that is given off in nuclear fission is astronomical.
To equal the amount of energy given off when splitting some uranium the size of
a golf ball, one would have to burn approximately twenty-five train cars full of
coal. Presently, the planet contains twenty-five times more nuclear fuel
compared to fossil fuel. On average, an atomic power plant can produce half a
million kilowatts of power. As a comparison, a hair dryer takes about one
kilowatt (Jenny, 1-2).

The producing of energy from nuclear fission is very similar to using a very
common fossil fuel boiler. The difference lies in the reactor, where the heat
is generated by fissioning material. The most common of reactors is the
pressurized water reactor; however, there are many other types.

The pressurized water ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 1/28/2006 08:00:10 AM
Category: Science & Nature
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1247
Pages: 5

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