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Environmental Science Paper

Environmental Science Paper - Liz Katzki and Mac Esters...

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Liz Katzki and Mac Esters Environmental Science Symposium Research Paper: Nuclear Energy- Now and in the Future Nuclear energy is a safe and more effective alternative to the current energy sources that the United States and the rest of the world use now. There are two ways of getting nuclear energy: nuclear fusion; the process of joining atomic particles resulting in a release of energy, and nuclear fission; the process of splitting the nuclei of atoms, releasing energy from within those atoms. The most commonly used and anticipated means of gaining nuclear energy is by means of nuclear fission. There are several different types of nuclear reactors that exist, and some in the experimental stage. The two main types if existing and usable nuclear reactors are the pressurized water reactor and the boiling water reactor. Both of these reactors use Uranium-235, a naturally occurring radioactive element, as fuel, so nuclear energy is not a form of renewable energy. There are several experimental types of nuclear reactors such as: the supercritical water-cooled reactor, the lead alloy cooled fast reactor, and the gas cooled fast reactor. The super critical water-cooled reactor super pressurizes the water that passes through it so it can accept more heat and therefore more energy than water at a lower pressure. The lead alloy cooled fast reactor is a much smaller nuclear reactor designed for use in developing countries, by using lead instead of water energy can be transferred between the atomic pile and the coolant faster. The gas cooled fast reactor is the same as the water-cooled reactor, except for the fact that it uses gas instead of water, the gas can possibly accept more energy because of its state, as a
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Liz Katzki and Mac Esters high pressure gas it can hold more energy than in a liquid form Nuclear fusion has not become a usable source of energy as it has as of yet never given more energy back out than it took to raise the temperature of the molecules enough to get to the plasma fusion requires. These systems, though enticing due to lower price of energy in the end, take a lot of capital to set up due to land costs and security. Uranium-235 and other possible radioactive materials are also costly, and will become more expensive as the amount dwindles. The obvious cost is construction and the materials needed for that process.
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