nuclearenergy

nuclearenergy - Fortune 1 Nick Fortune April 17, 2006 Mr....

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Fortune 1 Nick Fortune April 17, 2006 Mr. Yazan English 102.35 Nuclear Energy For the past half century, a majority of the energy produced in the United States has been produced from nuclear power plants. Now there is a regained interest in building more of these plants to increase the production of energy. Although nuclear energy is a very effective and reliable source of energy, there are many questions about the safety and stability of existing plants. It is a tough decision on whether to repair old nuclear plants or build newer, safer ones for the same amount of money. However by building more nuclear plants, we will be able to somewhat lower our “addiction” to oil as well as improve the environment. Solid arguments can be made on both sides of the subject. The largest argument made by those against building more nuclear power plants is the issue of safety. Although the plants are generally regarded to as safe, the chance of failure is still there. The highest chances of failure occur in what is called a “bathtub effect” when the greatest chances for failure are in the early life of the plant and then in the late life of the plant (Lochbaum). With the average age of the nuclear plants in the United States being 26 years, most of them have already passed the early life the plant meaning it is rapidly approaching the next dangerous stage of it’s life being near the late life of the plant. There are 31 plants in this country and already over half of them have had their 40 year operating licenses extended for another 20 years with the rest of the
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Fortune 2 plants waiting to do so (Lochbaum). The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was criticized harshly by nuclear energy critics in 2002 for not being aggressive enough in regulating the nuclear power industry. This occurred after it was discovered corrosion at the Ohio Davis-Beese nuclear plant had nearly eaten through the steel around the reactor’s radioactive core. According to the General Accounting Office, this event was the most serious at a U.S. nuclear plant since Three Mile Island. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was unable to detect the corrosion because they were unable to produce accurate information on the conditions of the plant (GAO 11). And while there is momentum for the construction of new nuclear plants, there has been a ban placed on reprocessing used commercial fuel. However there has been a push to revise this ban to allow for more time to make repairs on the current nuclear repository in the Yucca Mountains in Nevada; allowing repairs on this repository would possibly allow for more nuclear waste to be stored there in the long run. This move could
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nuclearenergy - Fortune 1 Nick Fortune April 17, 2006 Mr....

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