NuclearPower Station: The Advantages and Disadvantages
Anuclear power station is a plant is an energy generating stationwhere nuclear reactors are operated to generate power. In this case,a nuclear reactor is a technological machine or device which causesthe process of nuclear fission to take place, and therefore produceenergy (McLeish3).The process produces a lot of energy, thereby becoming a viable andeffective source of energy for use in both domestic and industrialpurposes in a country. However, the use of nuclear energy hasresulted to a debate based on the pros and cons of the method. Bydiscussing the advantages and disadvantages this paper willillustrate that despite the negatives, nuclear power stations aregood for the modern world.
Oneof the advantages of nuclear power stations is that they are able toproduce huge quantities of energy. This energy is produced in suchquantities, but in typically stable and small quantities of uranium(Battlefield 23). Nuclear power energy is the most efficient andpowerful compared with many other sources of energies. This has beenmade possible by the advancements and developments in the globaltechnological sectors that have made this type of power generationthe most viable option (Binnie 30). As a result, many countries allaround the world are investing large amounts of capital to developsustainable nuclear power stations. Presently only a small portion ofthe global energy comes from these nuclear power stations, but isexpected to rise in the near future.
Inaddition, nuclear power stations typically emit relatively littleamounts of harmful gases like carbon dioxide to the environment.These are low emissions of greenhouse gases and for this reason thecontributions of nuclear power stations to global warming isconsequently considerably reduced (Battlefield 23). It is importantto note that the low greenhouse emission of gases does not contributeto the development of global warming. The 1998 reports concluded thatthese greenhouse emissions have been considerably reduced nearly byhalf due to the fact that nuclear power has been popular in use(Lyzerorich 120). This is for the reasons that this type of energydoes not release harmful gases such as methane or carbon dioxide thatare largely responsible for the greenhouse effect. Therefore, nuclearpower energy has the lowest impact to the environment.
Anotheradvantage is the economic affordability of the energy produced.Uranium is that normally used as the fuel in the generation ofelectricity is typically low in cost. This is primarily becauseuranium is usually not affected by the price fluctuation that isexperienced by fuels such as coal and oil (Lyzerorich 121). Thereforethe costs of uranium remains relatively stable than the prices ofelectricity that is generated by fossil fuels. Moreover, while theestablishment costs of these nuclear power stations are high, thatcost is dramatically stabilized by the running costs that aretypically low and affordable. This is because the normal lifeexpectancy period of a nuclear power station usually ranges from fourto sixty years from the date of using the station (McLeish 7). Theillustration of all these factors makes the sum-total cost ofelectricity produced consequently low.
Thereis a huge economic advantage of developing a nuclear power stationand exclusively depending on it as the main source of energy. This iscompared to the many other available sources of energy that areconventional. The main advantage of this is the fact that such sourceof energy is very reliable (Lyzerorich 121). A properly functioningnuclear power station can function uninterruptedly for as many daysas seven hundred and thirty days (Binnie 29). This suggests thatthere would be very few or no brown outs including any other types ofinterruptions. Moreover, being the most widely used source of energywould ensure that there is nonstop supply. Because of its hugereserves the nuclear power stations can last for many years ascompared to the use of oil, coal or natural gas that are obviouslylimited.
Nuclearpower stations typically produce the most concentrated type ofenergy. A small mass of fuel usually uranium produces huge amounts ofenergy. Usually a twenty gram of uranium produces equivalent energythat is produced by a hundred metric tons of coal (Lyzerorich 122). In this regard it is plausible to state that this form of energyutilizes very small amounts of raw materials. Consequently,transportation of this fuel is usually considerably easier ascompared to other forms of fuels. Therefore, there is an optimizationin the utilization of the natural resources in producing nuclearenergy by the nuclear power stations.
Oneof the disadvantages of nuclear power stations is that they requirestringent and careful operations since any leaks could be disastrous.Safety systems are designed in the nuclear power stationsspecifically to contain any forms of radiations that may result fromthe processes (Huber 14). These safety systems normally function wellwhen installed and maintained properly. However, when they have anytypes of structural flaws, or are not properly maintained orinstalled it is highly possible they could result to harmful releasesthat are normally radiations (Huber 15). These radiations aretypically released to the environment in the normal processes.Moreover, radiation leaks that could result in a rupturing of acontainment field could have catastrophic consequences.
Anotherdisadvantage of nuclear power stations is polluting the environmentthrough the water that is used by the plants. Water is an importantelement in the nuclear energy production as it is responsible forcooling the chambers (McLeish 9). This process converts water intosteam that is responsible for the turning of the turbines. The nextprocess allows the steam water to return to their former liquid form.After that process this liquid form is usually pumped into theneighboring wetlands (Huber 15). This process ensures that there areabsolutely no radiations that are pumped into the environment.
Adisadvantage of nuclear power stations is that they can lead todamage if the radioactive waste is not well disposed off. Despite thestringent measures taken, it is possible that there are otherpollutants and heavy metals that may be eliminated through the waste(McLeish 21). If the waste is not properly disposed off, the resultis disastrous to the environment, to wildlife and to the environment.In addition the environment is most likely damaged by the immenseheat that is produced by this water (McLeish 23).
Inthis view, it is important to understand that nuclear power stationshave been used since the mid twentieth century. The historicalcontext of nuclear energy was for making weapons, before thediscovery of the technologies to generate energy from it (McLeish19).While it is related to war and destruction as the first major nuclearor atomic energy was used in weapons. Apart from the nuclear energy,there are other sources of energy that are not as effective andefficient(Huber 17). Theseare hydro-energy, coal, fossil fuel and steam power.
Inconclusion, the advantages of nuclear power station are high energyproduction, relatively clean energy without harmful gases andeconomically advantageous. However, nuclear power stations areassociated with massive destructions in case of leaks. At the sametime, they use a lot of input and resources such as water. Despitethe disadvantages of nuclear power stations, the advantagesassociated with the stations make them good alternative sources ofenergy for modern world.
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Lyzerorich,Alexander. Wet-SteamTurbines for Nuclear Power Plants.Oklahoma. Penwell Corporation Ltd. 2005. Print
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