Technology that isassociated with atomic nuclei is called nuclear technology. The nucleus is inthe middle of every atom and we are all surrounded by so many atoms. . Sometimes,under some circumstances, the nucleus can be split into two. Albert Einstein’sfamous (E = change in energy,M = change in mass, C = speed of light) was used to convert a certain amount ofmass into pure energy. But during the 1940’s, the people recognised itspotential to be used as a weapon. Many technological projects – including theManhattan Project used this energy in a chain energy to create nuclear bombs.
Nuclear Energy was also used during World War 2, when this new energy sourcewas used in the propellers of the submarine that could run for more than a yearwithout refuelling. Nuclear Technology hasalways been controversial. An accident at a nuclear power plant can causesevere damage such as damaging the environment, harming all living organismsand a lot of money to clean it up. Nuclear power plants are very complex ; they have backups and there are veryfew chances for an accident to occur. Accidents happen only when there are alot of things going wrong at the same time such as human mistake and technicalproblems. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of the United States ofAmerica have appointed inspectors to every nuclear plant in the U.
SA toidentify what and where the problems occur. Most of the results showed that itwas due to poor procedures and workers’ mistakes. The procedures are consideredpoor as they are usually more than Ten years old. The main goal of most powerplants is to spin huge turbines that drive electricity generators. Nuclearplants produce heat to make the steam and to drive the turbine. In most partsof U.
S.A., power and electricity is produced from coal and gas fired plants.They give out a lot of excess chemicals and they can be very harmful to thehealth of living organisms. Nuclear plants use nuclear fission to split atoms.Exceptional amount of heat in the form of steam is given out so henceforth itis an exothermic reaction. With the release of energy , nuclear fission takesplace where a large nucleus splits into two nuclei. In nuclear reactions, the mass change andassociated energy changes are significant.
When nucleon combine together toform an atom, an energy is released. The mass of the nucleus is always lessthan the sum of mass of protons and neutrons individually. There is a lot of energyrequired to break the nucleus into nucleons.
That is the reason nuclear bindingenergy is a major part involved in the process of nuclear fission. Nuclearbinding energy is the minimum amount of energy that would be required todisassemble the nucleus of an atom into different parts. The binding energy isalways positive, as we need to spend energy in moving the neutrons away.
Breaking apart a nucleus is one of the hardest methods away. So, if the bindingenergy is larger per nucleon, the nucleons are held together stronger and aremore stable. The main purpose behind all these scientific calculations is that,nuclear power plants use nuclear fission to generate power. Most nuclearfission reactions include Uranium-235(isotope of uranium making about 0.72%).
Nuclear power plants use Uranium -235 nucleus to undergo fission by hittingthem with neutrons. Somemajor disadvantages of using Nuclear Power/Nuclear Technology are thestimulating accidents that could happen at the plant and also the disposal ofthe waste. Accidents that happen could release plenty of radio-active materialsinto the environment as a huge cloud.
Then, these materials are ingested by allliving things. The issue is not just about the ingestion of these materials.The main one is that these particles are composed of unstable electrons that give off plenty of energy until theybecome stable. Radiation can be harmless in low doses whereas if the doses arehigh, it can destroy living cells and can also cause mutations. The fuel thatmelts and escapes the containment, contains plutonium- an extremely radioactiveelement. When plutonium is ingested through contaminated food or water, it getsdeposited in the liver and many other organs. It can emit damaged cells thatcan cause cancer.
Wind and water carrying this material can contaminatevegetation and water supplies. Two major nuclear meltdowns were in Chernobyl(Ukraine) and Fukushima (Japan). The Fukushima Dai-ichi was an energy accidentthat took place in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma in 2011.
There was a heavy earthquake that took place right before this incident. Due tothis, the active reactors automatically shut down their fission reactions.Because of the tsunami, even the emergency generators were disabled and couldnot control the cooling. The insufficient cooling led to three nuclearmeltdowns, release of radioactive materials and also hydrogen air explosions. Theother disadvantage of Nuclear Technology is the disposal of the waste. Waste innuclear plants come from contact with nuclear fuel in every day operations. It takes more than thousand years for highlevel waste such as spent fuel to deactivate.
This is a major problem becauseat the moment, 70000 tons of fuel are stored in the plants itself. But thenumber of advantages outnumber the disadvantages of nuclear technology.Currently fossil fuels are consumed faster than they are produced. Lesser Uraniumis needed to produce the same amount of energy such as coal or oil and it alsohelps reduce the cost. The reliability is also high compared to othertechnologies. A properly functioning nuclear power plant can run upto 520 dayswithout interruption. The periods between refuelling has substantiallyincreased. And nowadays most nuclear reactors are designed to operate for morethan 40 years even though service is required once in a year.
Nuclear reactorsdo not emit any greenhouse gases. Even though mining, enriching andconstruction of uranium involves emission of greenhouse gases, the totalemission are lower. The only high cost involved in this is the startup thatmight cost around 3 billion USD, resource management does not cost a lot.Nuclear energy is compact, it requires very little are compared to windmillsand solar panels. The maximum size required will be about 300 yards. The mostimportant advantage of nuclear power plants are that, they are powerful and efficient.
Nuclear technology can beused to create electricity and also weapons. Approximately, 12% of the world’senergy is derived from nuclear fission.