Dangers and Benefits of Nuclear Power Term Paper by Master Researcher

Dangers and Benefits of Nuclear Power
An overview of the pros and cons of nuclear energy.
# 39948 | 1,275 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Oct 15, 2003 in Physics (Matter and Energy) , Physics (Nuclear) , Environmental Studies (General)

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This paper explains the physics behind nuclear fission and nuclear energy and discusses its advantages as compared to renewable power supplies or fossil fuels. The paper then discusses the disadvantages of nuclear energy that include core meltdown, hydrogen gas release, radioactive poisoning, long term disposal/storage of waste materials and misuse of radioactive materials for weapons.

From the Paper:

"Nuclear chemistry is concerned mainly with isotopes of different atoms. An isotope is an atom that has a different molecular weight from the standard molecular weight. Every molecule is formed of neutrons, protons and electrons. Protons and neutrons are found in the nucleus which is located in the centre of the molecule, while electrons circulate around the nucleus. (1) Protons and electrons have both positive and negative charges respectively. A neutron however, has no charge, and thus atoms with different number of neutrons but the same numbers of protons and electrons have the same charge but a different mass. Even though their charges are the same, they still demonstrate very different properties. Certain isotopes are radioactive. A radioactive substance is one that emits certain types of 'rays'. During nuclear reactions, there have been three types of rays that have been detected. The alpha ray consists of particles that are positively charged. They tend to travel fairly slow (0.05 times the speed of light) and have a low penetrating power( they can easily be stopped by a piece of paper or aluminum foil). The beta rays are made of negatively charged particles that travel closer to the speed of light and have a higher penetrating power than the alpha particles. The last known type of rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation similar to X-rays called gamma rays. These ones have been measured to travel at approximately the speed of light, though measurements of them traveling beyond that speed would for obvious physical limitations be impossible."

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