Connor Koepnick

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I am thinking about pursuing that the United States should explore nuclear energy further because of the low carbon emission, low running cost, and small amount of nuclear waste. The world actually is too dependent of oil and gas and we need a replacement soon. With nuclear energy it had little to no greenhouse gasses and I believe this is a great alternative option to our reliance on oil.

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Part 1:

Nuclear energy gives off almost no carbon emission and rivals that of wind energy. It is also very cost effective and is the most efficient way to produce electricity. However, there is an obvious downside. If the reactors leak it is damaging to the life near it. I will now go into further detail about the damages nuclear energy can have.

 

Part 2:

Atom: Fundamental building block of all matter. Comprised of Protons, Neutrons, and Electrons

Proton: A particle that has a positive charge

Neutron: A particle the has no charge

Electron: Smallest particle in an atom, has a negative charge

Nucleus: The protons and Neutrons of an atom in a tight ball in the center of an atom

Atomic Number: A classifying system of elements. Each element has a certain number of protons. If the number of protons of an atom changes, the element changes
Element: Many of the same type of atoms come together to form a substance

Ion: When an atom either loses or gains an electron. If it gains an electron the atom is negatively charged, but is positively charged if it loses an electron

Molecule: A group of different atoms coming together that form a substance different than elements.

Isotope: An element that has the same atomic number, but a different number of Neutrons

Isomer: An arrangement of atoms that are bonded differently, but form the same substance

Nuclear Fission: The splitting of a heavy nucleus into two nuclei of roughly equal parts

Nuclei: Plural for nucleus

Atomic Weight or Atomic Mass: The sum of the number of protons and neutrons found in the nucleus of an atom

Mole: 6.022×10^23 things. 602,200,000,000,000,000,000,000

Molar Mass: The weight of 1 mole of an element. It is equal to the atomic weight of an element

Nuclear Fusion: Combining two or more small nuclei into a bigger nucleus

Mass: The amount of stuff an object has

Volume: The amount of space an object takes up

Density: A ratio of the mass divided by volume

Part 3:

Nuclear energy has a few major drawbacks. With the powerful nature of Atomic Bombs and the devastating effects of nuclear radiation due to a leak, nuclear energy is subject to debate. On April 26, 1986 the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, in present day Ukraine, exploded causing nuclear waste to leak and into the nearby environment (Aitsi-Selmi par. 1). The unconfined  and dangerous nuclear waste was now roaming free and changing the lives of nature nearby. Fish who lived in that environment, swam in nuclear sewage and became radioactive (Pearce par. 13). Any animal, human, or plant who consumed that animal or the water it swam in now becomes radioactive as well. This network of contamination was why many experts thought upwards of 4000 people were going to die of direct radiation, however that number did not even hit 50 ( Aitsi-Selmi par. 2). Nuclear radiation can cause human beings to contract cancers that include thyroid, skin, and leukemia (“cancer” par. 3).

The thought of nuclear radiation causing cancer was first thought of after the US dropped nuclear weapons on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Japan conducted studies after the bombs and concluded that citizens in those two cities had a higher concentration of Leukemia and Thyroid cancer (“Cancer” par. 2). However, the real danger was the actual bomb. The United States during World War 2, had a program called the Manhattan Project where nuclear weapons were born. The United States succeeded in creating this super weapon and bombed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 (“Bombing” par. 1). The bomb killed 80,000 people in an instant, and another 40,000 when the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki (“Bombing”  par. 1). Nuclear weapons were also part of a major military standoff that almost caused the end of the world. During the Cuban Missile Crisis the USSR moved some nuclear weapons into Cuba in response to the USA having nuclear weapons in Turkey (“Cuban” par. 1). Nuclear weapons have been a part of many intense scary moments in the world’s history.

The future is bright however. Many bright scientists in the UK have created a battery from radio active nickel, and believe we can use the same concept with a radioactive Uranium. A battery with that power source would last over 10,000 years. Since the Cuban missile crisis, many steps have been taken to avoid possible catastrophes in the world. Nuclear energy has a bright future.

Aitsi-Selmi, Amina and Virginia Murray. “The Chernobyl Disaster and Beyond: Implications of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.” Plos Medicine, vol. 13, no. 4, 25 Apr. 2016, pp. 1-4. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002017.

“Cancer Compensation Programs for People Exposed to Radiation as Part of Nuclear Weapons Testing.” American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, 7 Apr. 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

Conca, James. “Radioactive Diamond Batteries: Making Good Use Of Nuclear Waste.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 09 Dec. 2016. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

History.com Staff. “Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

Pearce, Fred. “Zone of Secrets.” New Scientist, vol. 232, no. 3103, 10 Dec. 2016, pp. 36-39. EBSCOhost.

Part 4:

Nuclear energy has many reasons that it needs to be even more prevalent in the world’s energy arsenal. The nuclear fission process is the most efficient way to produce electricity, it produces next to no carbon emissions, and using nuclear energy will help us learn more scientifically.

First off, it is widely known that using coal and other fossil fuels leads to an increase of CO2 and other natural gases into the atmosphere. It is also accepted that those gases lead to a higher global temperature leading to the eventual downfall of the earth(“emissions”). However nuclear energy would drastically reduce the the amount of natural gases in our air. When we burn coal and gas we are putting upwards of one kilogram of CO2 per kilowatt hour of electricity produced. Compared to 100 grams of CO2 with nuclear energy (“Facts”). The best part about that number is that it will keep decreasing. When the carbon footprint was calculated it took creating the nuclear facilities into the figure; however, the actual fission emits no carbon emissions. Nuclear energy would help drop the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere,

Nuclear energy is also the most efficient way to produce electricity. When something is turned into something else. Like oil into gas or uranium into electricity there is a theoretical yield, or what should be produced. Very seldom is that the amount that is actually the amount produced. To calculate how efficient something is take how much is actually produced, divide it by how much you actually got, then multiply by 100. Out of Gas, Coal, wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear energy there is a wide range of efficiency. In the case of solar energy, the least efficient, it is only 29% efficient and the second most efficient is gas at 53% (Life-Cycle Analyses). Nuclear blows everyone out of the water at 92%. Nuclear energy would be the best option to create an environment of effective energy

Finally studying nuclear energy leads to many wonderful discovers. Even with how deadly the bombs that we dropped on japan were, we learned a lot during that time in the realm of chemistry and physics (Manhattan). Inventions including turning plutonium into electricity, medical cancer treatments, and most recently a battery that lasts tens of thousands of years. That battery puts a layer of diamond over top of radioactive waste to create a cell that gives off no radiation and wont need to be replaced because of the contents that power it. Plutonium has a half life of 5,000 years, so the battery would still have 50% capacity after 5,000 years. For that reason it is a prime candidate to power things like space ships and pacemakers where it is near impossible to replace a battery (Kozub). Furthermore, a normal banana gives off more radiation than this battery, so it is perfectly safe.

Nuclear energy has many great upsides that has helped us since its inception in the 1940’s. Even with its wide array of uses, its effectiveness of turning unstable ions into electricity is its bread and butter. It is the most efficient producer as well it releases almost no carbon gases into the atmosphere. It is something that should be used more in the world today.

“The Manhattan Project.” Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.

“Fact Sheets.” Quick Facts: Nuclear Energy in America – Nuclear Energy Institute. Nuclear Energy Institute, July 2016. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

“Life-Cycle Emissions.” Life-Cycle Emissions – Nuclear Energy Institute. Nuclear Energy Institute, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

Kozub, Monika. “Diamond Batteries from Nuclear Waste.” Next Nature Network. Next Nature Network, 22 Dec. 2016. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

“Life-Cycle Emissions Analyses.” Life-Cycle Emissions Analyses – Nuclear Energy Institute. Nuclear Energy Institute, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

Final Paper:

Connor Koepnick

English 110 Hour 7

Ms.Armstrong

3/14/17

Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy gives off  no carbon emission and rivals that of wind energy, but is the least talked about alternative energy source. This paper will reveal my bias towards using nuclear energy, but to put it out there I am persuaded by numbers and analysis. In this piece I reference many numbers and statistics. Comparing these figures to other data from other energy sources the world uses is one way I determined my stance. One other way is from my personal love for chemistry. It is my favorite class in school and enjoy reading about all chemistry. I may be persuaded just for the fact it is interesting chemistry. Nuclear energy is also very cost effective and is the most efficient way to produce electricity. However, there is an obvious downside. If the reactors leak it is damaging to the life near it. I will now go into further detail about the damages nuclear energy can have.

A few of the things wrong with nuclear energy would be the radiation leakage, its deadly power, and fuel availability. On April 26, 1986 the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, in present day Ukraine, exploded causing nuclear waste to leak and into the nearby environment (Aitsi-Selmi). The unconfined and dangerous nuclear waste was now roaming free and changing the lives of nature nearby. Fish who lived in that environment, swam in nuclear sewage and became radioactive (Pearce). Any animal, human, or plant who consumed that animal or the water it swam in now becomes radioactive as well. This network of contamination was why many experts predicted death for upwards of 4,000 people. Nuclear radiation can cause human beings to contract cancers that include thyroid, skin, and leukemia (“Cancer”).

The idea that nuclear radiation causing cancer was first thought of after the US dropped nuclear bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. The Japanese conducted medical studies after the bombs and concluded that citizens in those two cities had a higher concentration of Leukemia and Thyroid cancer than the rest of the world, and kids were at an even higher risk for thyroid cancer because the thyroid gland was not fully grown yet (“Cancer”). However, the greatest danger lies with the actual detonation of the bombs we dropped. The United States during World War 2, had a program called the Manhattan Project where nuclear weapons were created and tested. The United States succeeded in creating this super weapon and bombed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 (“Bombing”). The bomb vaporized 80,000 people in an instant, and another 40,000 when the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki (“Bombing”). This power still scares a lot of people, and was the part of a major historical event that almost obliterated two of the world leaders of the 1960’s The United States and the USSR.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis the USSR moved some nuclear weapons into Cuba in response to the USA having nuclear weapons in Turkey (“Cuban”). Because of the destructive power demonstrated in Japan, the whole world watched in anticipation as these two nations worked out their differences. Teachers in schools of the two nations were taught to show kids to duck and cover under their desks if the signal was given that a nuclear weapon had been sent out. Those teachers also had full knowledge that it would not help one bit. Citizens were at the mercy of the temperament of the elected officials. Nuclear fallout was a very real threat that was very close to becoming a reality. Nuclear weapons have been a part of many intense scary moments in the world’s history. Many steps have been taken however in trying to eliminate any type of stand offs like we had in the 1960s. First, the president only knows codes to launch nuclear warheads in the US. This means that very few people have the ability to launch. That alone makes nuclear war less likely. Also, committees like the UN can monitor nuclear weapons because they are weapons of mass destruction. That monitoring can lead to a good standing when it comes to nuclear weapons because it allows a group of people to decide whether a country should have nuclear weapons or not.

Furthermore, there is a lack of fuel available. Like oil and gas, eventually the radioactive uranium used to power nuclear power plants will run out. The reason that nuclear energy has the leg up on other non-renewable sources is how little it takes to create a useable amount of energy. If we completed nuclear fission with only 1 gram a day we could still create 1 Megawatt of energy or the equivalent of 3 tons of coal (“Nuclear”). The thing is that we do fission with a lot more than 1 gram a day. If we use one mole of uranium or 238 grams of uranium a day, and followed the same ratios we could produce 238 Megawatts or over the equivalent of over 700 tons of coal. Then multiply that by all our power plants, and we can get a great value of the limited uranium we have. Even if our supply of Uranium is limited, the amount of energy we can create is near limitless

Nuclear energy has many reasons that it needs to be even more prevalent in the world’s energy arsenal. The nuclear fission process is the most efficient way to produce electricity, it produces next to no carbon emissions, and using nuclear energy will advance scientific discovery launching our society forward. First off, it is widely known that using coal and other fossil fuels leads to an increase of CO2 and other natural gases in the atmosphere. It is also accepted that those gases lead to a higher global temperature leading to the eventual downfall of the earth (“Life-Cycle”). However nuclear energy would drastically reduce the the amount of natural gases in our air. When we burn coal and gas we are putting upwards of one kilogram of CO2 gas into our atmosphere per kilowatt hour of electricity produced. Compared to 100 grams of CO2 with nuclear energy (“Facts”). The best part about that number is that it will keep decreasing. When the carbon footprint was calculated it factored in creating the facilities into the final data; however, the actual fission emits no carbon emissions. That means that as we produce more energy, that amount will increase while the carbon emission stays the same creating a ratio that will basically equate to a negligible margin. Nuclear energy would help drop the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Nuclear energy is also the most efficient way to produce electricity. When something is turned into something else. Like oil into gas or uranium into electricity there is a theoretical yield, or what should theoretically be produced. Very seldom is that the amount that is actually the amount produced. To calculate how efficient something is, we take how much is actually produced, divide it by how much you should produce, then multiply by 100. Out of Gas, Coal, Wind, Solar, Hydro, and Nuclear energy there is a wide range of efficiency. In the case of solar energy, the least efficient, it is only 29% efficient and the second most efficient is gas at 53% (“Life-Cycle Analyses”). Nuclear blows everyone out of the water at 92%. Nuclear energy would be the best option to create an environment of effective energy

Finally studying nuclear energy leads to many wonderful discoveries. Even with how deadly the bombs that we dropped on Japan were, we learned a lot during that time in the realm of chemistry and physics (Manhattan). Inventions including turning plutonium into electricity, medical cancer treatments, and most recently a battery that lasts tens of thousands of years. That battery puts a layer of diamond over top of radioactive waste to create a cell that gives off no radiation and won’t need to be replaced because of the contents that power it. Plutonium has a half life of over 5,000 years, so the battery would still have 50% capacity after 5,000 years. For that reason it is a prime candidate to power things like space ships and pacemakers where it is near impossible to replace a battery (Conca). Furthermore, a normal banana gives off more radiation than this battery, so it is perfectly safe.

Nuclear energy has many great upsides that has helped us since its inception in the 1940’s. Even with its wide array of uses, it is most effective in creating an energy. It is the most efficient producer of electricity as well it releases almost no carbon gases into the atmosphere. It is something that should be used more in the world today.

Works Cited

Aitsi-Selmi, Amina, and Virginia Murray. “The Chernobyl Disaster and Beyond: Implications of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030.” PLOS Medicine, Public Library of Science, journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1002017.

“Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/bombing-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki.

“Cancer Compensation Programs for People Exposed to Radiation as Part of Nuclear Weapons Testing.” American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/radiation-exposure/cancer-among-military-personnel-exposed-to-nuclear-weapons.html.

Conca, James. “Radioactive Diamond Batteries: Making Good Use Of Nuclear Waste.”Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 9 Dec. 2016, www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.forbes.com%2Fsites%2Fjamesconca%2F2016%2F12%2F09%2Fradioactive-diamond-batteries-making-good-use-of-nuclear-waste%2F&refURL=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F.

“Cuban Missile Crisis.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010, http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/cuban-missile-crisis. Accessed 23 Mar. 2017.

“Fact Sheets.” Quick Facts: Nuclear Energy in America – Nuclear Energy Institute, Nuclear Energy Institute, www.nei.org/Master-Document-Folder/Backgrounders/Fact-Sheets/Quick-Facts-Nuclear-Energy-In-America.

“Life-Cycle Emissions Analyses.” Life-Cycle Emissions Analyses – Nuclear Energy Institute, Nuclear Energy Institute, www.nei.org/Issues-Policy/Protecting-the-Environment/Life-Cycle-Emissions-Analyses.

“The Manhattan Project.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org/us/51f.asp

“Nuclear Fission Energy.” Nuclear Fission Energy, www2.lbl.gov/abc/wallchart/chapters/14/1.html.

Pearce, Fred. “Zone of Secrets.” New Scientist, vol. 232, no. 3103, 10 Dec. 2016, pp. 36-39. EBSCOhost.