Nuclear Energy

You are watching the control panels and gages for rector two. Sitting comely you think about how easy your job is. It is a joke! All day you sit around and watch the gages for reactor number two just to make sure they maintain their settings. You don't even need to look at the gages either because a computer automatically regulates them without you. Life is so good. Suddenly all the sirens go of and the gages and displays spin wildly in every direction. The ground shakes and you can hear the sound of a deep rumble. Unknown to you, the reactor's cooling pumps have failed to cool the reactor's core and in 3 seconds the temperature went from 280 degrees centigrade to 4,000 degrees centigrade. The water that was in the reactor is instantly turned to steam which creates tremendous amount of pressure in the reactor core. Above the reactor core there is a 5 foot thick lead plate and above that there is a meter thick floor composed of iron, barium, serpentine, concrete, and stone. The exploding steam fires the floor up like shrapnel. The metal plate goes through the four foot thick concrete roof like butter and reaches and altitude of sixty meters. You can hear ripping, rending, wrenching, screeching, scraping, tearing sounds of a vast machine breaking apart. L. Ray Silver, a leading author who covered the disaster at Chernobyl, said that within the core, steam reacts with zirconium to produce that first explosive in nature's arsenal, hydrogen. Near-molten fuel fragments shatter nearly incandescent graphite, torching chunks of it, exploding the hydrogen. The explosion breaks every pipe in the building rocking it with such power that the building is split into sections (11-13). You look down at your body and notice that it feels hot and your hands look different. Unknown to you a tremendous amount of neutrons are hitting your cells and taking chucks out of your skin. Suddenly everything goes black.

The paragraph above describes the scene of what happened at Chernobyl nuclear plant a few years ago. From that time until the present many other smaller accidents have happened. From these accidents many people have died and millions have been indirectly affected. Nuclear energy has far to many negative problems than advantages. From the mining of uranium to disposal of nuclear waist there are problems of such magnitude that no scientist on this earth has an answer for. Nuclear energy has so many problems associated to it that it should be banned from the earth.

To understand the threat of nuclear energy we must first understand what happens in a nuclear reaction. Ann E. Weiss, who has written several books on the subject of nuclear energy, described what happens inside a nuclear power plant. In a nuclear reaction the nuclei of its atoms split, producing energy in the form of heat. The heat makes steam which powers a turbine. Fission takes place in a nuclear reactor. The fuel used is pellets of uranium. In a modern reactor, half-inch long pellets of uranium are packed into 12 or 14 foot tubes made of an alloy of the metal zirconium. About 50,000 zircalloy fuel rods make up the reaction core. To control a nuclear reaction control rods made of cadmium is used which absorbs neutrons. With the control rods in place in the core, a chain reaction cannot begin. When the plant operators want to start the chain reaction they activate machinery that pulls the control rods away from the core. Once this is done a single free neutron is enough to set off the reaction. As the reaction continues, a moderator slows the neutrons down enough to ensure that they will continually split more uranium atoms. At the same time, the moderator acts as a coolant. It keep the overall temperature about 300 degrees Celsius. Since the temperature at spots inside the fuel rods may be as high as 1,100 degrees Celsius, enormous amounts of coolant are continually needed to keep the core temperature at the proper level. When the plant must be must be shut down the control rods are lowered all the way back into the core. That brings the chain reaction to a standstill. The core cools, and steam is no longer produced (23-24). In all nuclear reactions use uranium and produce some plutonium.

Since nuclear reactions produce a considerable amount of plutonium there are considerable