Nuclear power provides the world an enormous amount of its total energy. Electricity is an indispensible element of contemporary life, which provides the basic framework for the high standards of living enjoyed by billions. In an age actively looking to reduce its overall carbon footprint and pollution, nuclear energy may well provide a clean energy alternative to traditional sources of power, and continue to grow in importance.
Nuclear Energy Facts and Myths
Nuclear energy, through a variety of processes at a power station reactor, is refined to create power. These nuclear processes are mostly performed using so called ‘rare earth elements.’ During energy production, the atoms’ are either broken apart, which is called fission, or joined together, called ‘fusion.’
It is a myth, though unfortunately a widespread one, that nuclear reactors can simply explode just like their weapon cousins. While energy plants can, and do, have issues with operation, the level of enrichment in power plants’ uranium is far too low to actually explode. The plants are made specifically for producing electricity, not weapons, in reliable and safe ways, and are among the most secure industrial facilities in the world. A robust safety system is in place, with multiple layers of electronic and physical security actively supporting each other to severely limit access to the core of reactor.
Nuclear energy is very clean when compared to other power sources. While nuclear power plants produce 400 cubic meters of a waste a year, coal powered plants produce around 400,000 cubic meters of ash per year, as well as 7 million tons of hazardous exhaust gases.
Nuclear Energy Facts
- Nuclear energy comes from uranium, a mined, nonrenewable resource.
- Nuclear power plants operate using a fission process, which is produced at low temperature creates safe energy.
- About 13% of the world’s energy is provided by emissions free nuclear power.
- More than 70% of America’s emission-free power comes from nuclear energy sources.
- A power plant must be shut down in every 18 to 24 months in order to remove spent uranium fuel, which is highly radioactive waste.
- 1 out 5 businesses and households in the U. S. are powered by nuclear energy.
- Nuclear power facilities can produce up to 91% efficiency-rated energy in 24 hours and 7 days.
Hopefully, learning some of the basic nuclear energy facts, especially in terms of its potential as a clean energy source, have helped provide you with a more informed opinion.