Nuclear Energy Essay

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Energy is never created nor destroyed….? However, today’s world seems to use it up quicker than we can change it from one form to another. When that change involves a nuclear reaction, many people think of things like Chernobyl or 3-mile Island. When in reality, nuclear energy is not so bad. The sun and stars seem like endless sources of energy. That energy is the result of nuclear reactions, in which matter is converted to energy. Presently, nuclear energy provides 16% of the world’s electricity (Nuclear Energy, 2009). The United States presently has 104 nuclear reactors in 31 different states which produce 20% of the total electricity generated in America (Nuclear Energy; Just the Facts, 2008). No new nuclear power plants have been built since 1996. Not to mention that it is the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the United States, accounting for 70% of all emission-free U.S. electricity. There are two types of commercial nuclear power plants in the United States: boiling water reactors and pressurized water reactors. Water is used for cooling in both types. Water is essential to the process that converts fission energy into electrical energy. Of America’s 104 reactors, 69 are pressurized water reactors, while 35 are boiling water reactors (Mccarthy, 2007). Boiling water reactors heat the water surrounding the nuclear fuel directly into steam in the reactor vessel. Pipes carry steam directly to the turbine, which drives the electric generator to produce electricity. Pressurized water reactors heat the water surrounding the nuclear fuel in the reactor vessel but keep the water under pressure to prevent it from boiling. Pumps move the hot water from the reactor vessel to a steam generator. There, the water pumped from the reactor heats a second separate supply of water,

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