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Nuclear Energy : The Good, The Bad, And the Debatable

By Aref, Lana

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Book Id: WPLBN0000061432
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.4 MB
Reproduction Date: 2007
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Title: Nuclear Energy : The Good, The Bad, And the Debatable  
Author: Aref, Lana
Language: English
Subject: Ecology, Natural resource issues, Environemtal protection
Collections: Environmental Awareness Library Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: United States Environmental Protection Agency


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Aref, D. L. (n.d.). Nuclear Energy : The Good, The Bad, And the Debatable. Retrieved from

Excerpt: How is Nuclear Energy Produced? Nuclear energy is produced when an atom's nucleus is split into smaller nuclei by the process called fission. The fission of large atoms, such as Uranium 235 and Plutonium 239, produces a great deal of energy. In fact, the fission of 1 gram of Uranium 235 produces the same amount of energy as the combustion, or burning, of 3 tons of coal (1)! The energy produced by the fission of uranium or plutonium can be harnessed to produce electricity, to propel space craft, and to power weapons like the Atomic Bomb. Unlike a traditional coal-burning power plant, a nuclear power plant uses the energy, or heat, produced by the fission of Uranium, rather than the burning of coal, to heat water into the steam required to turn the turbines that power electric generators. The advantage of using Uranium over coal energy is that, unlike for coal, Uranium fission does not produce soot and potentially harmful gases such as Carbon Dioxide. However, like coal, Uranium is mined and then processed before it can be used as an energy source. Also, like coal, the different mining and processing steps, as well as the actual energy production, produce a great deal of waste. Unlike coal, however, these wastes are radioactive, and thus more difficult to handle.

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