Nuclear power plants work in much the same way traditional power plants do, but with a different source of fuel. Instead of coal, oil, natural gas, wind or water, they harness the heat energy created in a nuclear fission reaction to boil water, which creates steam, which then turns turbines to produce electricity.
The controversy over producing power this way comes from the damage that radioactive materials can do to people because of the risk of cancer to those who have been exposed to nuclear waste materials or fallout after an accident
In the past, accidents at nuclear power facilities including one at Three Mile Island in the United States and at Chernobyl in the former USSR (now in the Ukraine), released nuclear fallout into the atmosphere.
Global concerns were raised even more in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, which resulted in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
So is all nuclear energy bad energy? Take our quiz to find out.
Then, tell us in the comments section below what you think — should we be using nuclear reactors for energy?
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The first large-scale nuclear reactor was built in:
The first reactors were built in Hanford, Wash. in 1944 to produce material for nuclear weapons.
What’s nuclear energy?
Nuclear energy is released during the splitting or fusing of an atom’s nucleus.
Nuclear reactors use fission– the splitting of an atom– to produce energy.
Experts believe fusion, if perfected, could provide an unending source of clean, safe energy. Currently, nuclear reactors create energy through atomic fission.
What’s the main use of nuclear technology?
The primary use of nuclear technology is to generate electricity– reactors provide 16 percent of the world’s power.
How is nuclear energy measured?
Nuclear energy is measured in millions of electron volts– MeV– the tally of energy released during the fusion or fission of an atom. A nuclear reaction releases 10 million times more energy than a regular chemical reaction.
The first nuclear reaction happened in:
University of Chicago physicist Enrico Fermi produced the world’s first nuclear reaction in 1942.
There are four types of nuclear reactors. Which one of these is not?
Water, propulsion, breeder and research reactors are all used to generate nuclear power.
What kind of metal is needed to produce nuclear energy?
Mined uranium contains only about 0.7 percent of uranium-235, the element needed to create nuclear power. Isotope enrichment, the process of concentrating and converting uranium to unranium-235, increases levels of the metal so it can be used in reactors.
Most of the world’s reactors are:
Water reactors (light-water, boiling-water and pressurized-water) are the most common type of nuclear reactor.
The world’s worst nuclear disaster:
The Ukranian town of Chernobyl was home to the world’s worst nuclear accident on April 26, 1986. Following the failure of one of the plants-cooling mechanisms, a reactor exploded, spreading radiation into the atmosphere across northern Europe.
The worst U.S. nuclear disaster:
In 1979, the TMI-2 reactor on Pennsylvanias Three Mile Island suffered a partial meltdown. The radiation was fully contained, but public concerns following the disasters effectively ended
I think that having nuclear energy is a good thing because using it will give us the opportunity to learn more about the danger and harm.
I believe that not all nuclear energy bad energy because although it can cause harm and danger to us the more we use it the more we can learn and prevent or lessen the danger.
I think that learning about the nuclear disasters in our world are a big effect and its important to know why their a big disaster.
I believe we shouldn’t use nuclear power for energy because although it may help us there still is that possible outcome of it firing back and can harm us. We’ve already seen what can happen and what it’s capable of doing, because just like on August 6, 1945 when Hiroshima was bombed they went through so much and to this day they still suffer from the tragic event.
This is interesting and makes me think on how the nuclear plants provides energy.
This is kinda like when the U.S dropped the atomic bomb in the Japanese city of Hiroshima just not as bad but it took a long time to recover from it and the radiation it left in the city, lots of people had to leave, many had disease from the radiation and many died. I think this is something many people wont forget about.
I think we should not use nuclear reactors because there are big hazards that come with this so if it was some how to go off it can affect many people.
I found this article quite intriguing because the world today, still uses nuclear power for different uses, despite the fact that the chemicals contained in them are so susceptible and harmful to humans. However, I have learned that radiation can also help people, such as those who have cancer. So is this the same energy that harms people, helping them, but in less quantity or is there a difference?
I find the topic of nuclear energy very interesting i knew most of these questions but it interested me for the ones that i didn’t know.
I believe we should use nuclear reactors because we now know how to safely utilize their ability to create clean energy.