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Do you think nuclear power is a good or bad idea?Do you think nuclear power is a...

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swright23 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 2, 2010 at 4:54 PM via web

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Do you think nuclear power is a good or bad idea?

Do you think nuclear power is a good or bad idea?

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trophyhunter1 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted November 2, 2010 at 5:27 PM (Answer #2)

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 Nuclear reactors are capable of producing a great deal of energy from a small amount of fuel-- one kilogram of Uranium-235 converted by nuclear processes contains approximately three million times the energy of a kilogram of coal that is burned by combustion. However, there are negative aspects to this type of energy.  First of all, radioactive isotopes are produced when nuclear fission of uranium --235occurs. When the atoms are split, energy is released as well as neutrons that can be used to produce a chain reaction. As neutrons are released, they can bombard other uranium atoms and the fission reaction occurs again. It is a controlled reaction, unlike that of a nuclear bomb. However, many precautions must be taken in the nuclear power facility. There is a  containment building which houses the equipment. Every part of the nuclear reactor, the fuel rods, the coolant, the reactor core, the spent fuel pool, etc. are potentially hazardous to the environment. Currently, there is no safe way to dispose of nuclear wastes and eventually, they will be buried in geologically safe locations such as in Nevada. However, there is a danger to groundwater and to the atmosphere and soil if something should go wrong and the wastes do not remain contained. Power plants that are older and must be closed are usually entombed and must be avoided for hundreds of years. Or, if dismantled, the equipment will  have to be disposed of which is a real problem and it will be radioactive for years to come.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 3, 2010 at 9:26 AM (Answer #3)

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I'll go with this being a good idea.  Nuclear waste is a problem, but it is not as imminent or serious a problem as global warming.  We can store the wastes in a reasonably safe way.  It's not perfect and it MAY cause problems down the line, but if we don't have nuclear power we have to get more from fossil fuels and we know that those WILL cause problems.  So I'm in favor of nuclear power.

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sociality | High School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted November 3, 2010 at 12:13 PM (Answer #4)

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I'll go with nuclear power too. After all for just one Chernobyl, we've had 10 other BPs and Exxon Valdezes. And just the fact that a nuclear accident can be devastating makes people try harder to ensure that damage is averted. Though we’re quite a way from being able to harness the almost limitless power of fusion reactions, we are moving in that direction. And I’m sure none of us doubts the fact that the hydrocarbons we are burning now will run out and we no longer will have the option to attempt using them instead of moving on and adopting nuclear power.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:55 PM (Answer #5)

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I think the fear of what to do with the nuclear waste scares a lot of people away from nuclear power. Also there is the fact that nuclear power can also be used by terrorists or terrorist nations is a concern. As someone else stated I think we are getting close to finding safe ways to store the nuclear waste.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:07 PM (Answer #6)

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I live 30 miles from the most polluted nuclear site in America, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.  While the idea of nuclear energy is intriguing and practical, there are huge drawbacks from my view.  Maintaining our huge nuclear waste stockpile is incredibly expensive, and we'll be dealing with it, in practical terms, forever.

Hanford has never been profitable because of these costs, and since alternative forms of energy, wind, solar, tidal, etc. exist and are getting better all the time, I would rather invest in other forms of clean, renewable energy.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 27, 2012 at 12:20 PM (Answer #7)

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Nuclear power can be very safe. It can also be practical, efficient, clean and cheap. The danger is in what came happen if something goes wrong, as we learned in Japan. However, in many cases it does seem to be a viable, reasonable option for power.

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