Nuclear energy, first developed in the 1940s,is a powerful energy source that the United States along with many othercountries has been using now for some time now.
Just in the United Statesalone, there has been millions and millions of dollars that have been pumpedinto nuclear power reactors, the costs associated with developing this energy,and of course the disposal of nuclear waste. There are estimated to be over 400nuclear power reactors located in 31 different countries around the world.These reactors are said to provide about 11% of the entire world’s electricityand 20% of the electricity in the United States. The nuclear industry as awhole generates anywhere from 2,000 to 2,300 tons of nuclear waste per year,which obviously has to be store somewhere. Exposure to nuclear waste has causedcountless deaths over the last hundred years. Since nuclear waste remainsradioactive after its use, for thousands of years, disposing of this wasteproperly has always been a problem. So now the questions that come to mind arehow is nuclear waste being disposed of, and why has it been this ongoingproblem for years now.
There are flaws to using nuclearenergy, a big one of them being how to deal with nuclear waste. Materials usedin the making of nuclear energy cannot be immediately handled after use andmust be stored because of its radioactivity. Because plants have to store thiswaste for lengthy periods of time, there isn’t enough storage space to continuestoring waste at the rate these plants are producing them. Nuclear energy was actually discovered byaccident in 1896 by a French scientist.
Antoine Becquerel stumbled upon nuclearenergy during an experiment he ran in which he found that uranium salts absorbedsunlight and then emitted radiation similar to x-rays. He became known as thefather of nuclear energy. It was during World War II that numerous scientist reallystudied nuclear reactors and eventually narrowed their focus to nuclear energy.It was then when scientists discovered the potential nuclear energy had tobecome a great power source in the future. Nuclear energy is created when atomsof uranium are split in controlled nuclear reactions. Through a process knownas nuclear fission, uranium atoms are split in a nuclear reactor.
During thisprocess when neutrons collide with uranium atoms, atoms split which producesheat. This causes fission to create a chain reaction where the process becomes self-sustaining.There are fuel rods inserted that either slow or acceleration the reaction.