Is nuclear energy harmful to the enviroment?

I have to do a science project for school and I’m researching the element Uranium. The project is to make a promotional poster for useage of your element, but I don’t want to write stuff about nuclear bombs. I know you can use Uranium for nuclear energy but I wasn’t sure if it was better than using petroleum. Please included a list of Uranium’s other uses too if you can. Thanks!

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6 Responses to “Is nuclear energy harmful to the enviroment?”

  1. cactusone said:

    it’s bad when it meltsdown!

  2. cmb said:

    the fact is that there is no other source known to man that produces more heat energy (this is used to turn turbines that produce electricity) per pound of waste than nuclear fusion. The problem is that is is highly dangersou (causing cancer and such) for thousands of years. The spent nuclear rods must be kept in giant concrete storages tens of feet underground.

    There are some places that nuclear energy can go and not be harmful, though. Nuclear fusion is used to power many un-manned spaceflights. It generates electricity for many years and in space it cant harm anything (anything that most of the earth cares about).

  3. Dubberino said:

    Uranium is a fuel for nuclear fission, not fusion and fission (nuclear) power is superior to fossil fuel power for many reasons. The concerns are also greater, however. The main concerns are waste disposal and damage caused by mishandling of fuel or waste, contamination of water and the potential for a major meltdown disaster. Increased benefit comes with increased risk.

  4. Ayame said:

    Nuclear energy is harmful to the environment if the condensed radioactive material is released into it, such as through a reactor meltdown or waste spill.

    Whether uranium is better than petroleum is debatable. If you have equal volumes of uranium and petroleum, the uranium will generate more energy (way more, from what I remember), which is a good thing because it can keep costs down. Uranium doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses or other atmospheric pollutants, also a good thing. However, there will be nuclear waste produced, so what do you do with it? Then there’s the potential for disaster to consider (think Chernobyl).

    Check these wikipedia articles for more info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_plant
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster

  5. steve_geo1 said:

    Compose the promotional poster for “your element,” U-235. Urge your audience to agree to enrichment of natural uranium (which is mostly U-238 and doesn’t work) to get the most of U-235 that is left. Assure your audience that you want to use U-235 for power generation purposes and not to make bombs. Your purpose is to insert fuel rods enriched in U-235 into the core of a reactor. U-235 decays spontaneously by fission to produce neutrons and “a lot a other isotopes.” The many neutrons react with more U-235 to cause more fission. Eventually, there are so many fission events going on and so many neutrons produced, that the whole thing becomes a sustainable chain reaction. Things get really hot. You can use the heat to boil water. You can use the steam to turn a steam turbine. You can get electricity from that. There is no carbon dioxide. There is no petroleum. Your element, uranium, is a “green” element. LOL

  6. U235_PORTS said:

    Uranium has two basic uses. The first use is to create energy through nuclear reactions. The second use is as a very heavy metal.

    In the first case, the uranium isotope U-235 must be enriched to support nuclear reactions. This process of enrichment produces some uranium that has more U-235 than naturally occurring uranium and a whole lot of uranium that has less U-235 than naturally occuring uranium. The uranium with less U-235 than normal is called “depleted uranium”.

    Depleted uranium is used for certain types of armor piercing projectiles used by US tanks and some planes. This is because it is cheap, plentiful, dense, and “self-sharpening”. As defense, US tanks also use depleted uranium as armor. It is a very dense metal, so it is also sometimes used as an effective counter weight for ships, boats, and sometimes on airplane components where there is too little space to use plain steel.

    Uranium is chemically toxic to humans, but is easily detected because it is radioactive. (Many other chemicals like lead, gasoline, drain cleaner, etc. are also chemically toxic to humans, so uranium isn’t special in this regard.)

    Uranium is very good for producing electricity in large power plants. Petroleum is good for powering automobiles and trucks. Neither is good at doing the other’s job. Uranium does have some dangerous wastes, but these wastes are easily contained and very small in comparison to the amount of energy they produce. (For a year of operation, a power plant will only produce a couple of cubic meters of high level waste.) Petroleum also has dangerous wastes and they are emitted directly into the atmosphere where people breathe them in (smog, particulates, carbon monoxide, etc.). In my opinion, petroleum is much more hazardous than uranium for that reason.




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