Nuclear Knowledge

Nuclear Power – a hot topic ever since the troubles started at the nuclear power plant of Fukushima in Japan on March 11th. Events following include the closing of several German power plants, and lately a heading in the danish newspaper ‘Berlingske’ read: “Danish Nuclear Dump Site On It’s Way” – that was on the 29th of March.

Picture from the tv series "The Simpsons"

Because of all the problems with nuclear power lately, world opinion starts to turn against the use of nuclear power. Nevertheless, it is always useful to look on a topic from several angles. Is nuclear power just bad?

Just saying it’s bad because that is what your friends say, is surely not a basis for making useful decisions. So let’s get things straight: Nuclear power plants make energy by splitting atoms – usually uranium isotopes, U-235, or plutonium isotopes, Pu-239 – into fast-moving lighter elements known as ‘fission products’. Since this is an exothermic reaction, heat is produced. From here, making energy is just like we know it from steam trains. Water is heated producing steam. Steam drives turbines, that again generate electricity. Somewhat simple. The good thing about nuclear fission, is that you can get a lot of energy from small amounts of material, compared to f.ex. coal. Also there are no greenhouse side effects with nuclear power. The bad news is, that part of the waste material from the nuclear way is highly dangerous, and cannot be reused. It has to be locked away for thousands of years, until not radioactively dangerous anymore. Also, nuclear fission is not a sustainable energy resource. There is only so much uranium, and when it’s gone – it’s gone.

Every individual should make up their mind about nuclear power, before just saying it’s bad. When that is said, I want to point out, that research in sustainable energy sources seems like a much smarter idea – it surely doesn’t hurt to think many years ahead. Pointing research in an earth-friendly and living-things-friendly direction simply seems the wiser option. Often, in research, is encountered new methods or possibilities when research is done, so why not try and make it smart from the beginning?

Please leave comments to this post! What is your opinion on nuclear power?

 

Links:
http://www.world-nuclear.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_I_nuclear_accidents
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power#Nuclear_fusion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fission#Natural_fission_chain-reactors_on_Earth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_energy_policy
http://www.darvill.clara.net/altenerg/nuclear.htm#intro
http://the-green-guide.info/renewal/VarC.htm
Advertisements

About Sif S. Stewart-Ferrer

Passion for knowledge - especially the philosophy of natural science. BA in Philosophy from the University of Southern Denmark. Masters Student in Anthropology at Aarhus University, Denmark. Involvements include the Initiative for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP) in the Living Technology branch, being an Honors Student at Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLinT, www.flint.sdu.dk) and being part of the 2010 Team:SDU-Denmark in the international MIT competition in synthetic biology known by the name of iGEM (www.igem.org). Interests include philosophy (the philosophy of science and environmental ethics), mycology, martial arts (wing chun and aikido), anthropology (anthropocene, Nepal), computer games and outdoor life.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous, Physics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s