Comparison of nuclear power and fossil fuels environmental sciences essay

In today’s world there are numerous ways of making energy. Before the majority of the energy came from fossil fuels; fossil fuels were always used to produce energy because these were cheap and obtainable in vast amounts. Nowadays, as a result of the limited volume of fossil fuels around the globe and the high prices persons have started to employ other ways of generating energy. Nuclear power is probably the many resources nowadays being found in order to keep the application of fossil fuel’s down. In this paper I am going to discuss fossil fuels, nuclear electric power and advantages and negatives of both.

What are fossil fuels? Coal, gas, and oil are the three main fossil fuels. They have been formed from the organic and natural remains of prehistoric plants and animals more than 300 million years back. According to Energy and the Environment, "fuel refers to anything that could be burned as a way to obtain energy; consequently, fossil fuels will be the remains of pets or animals and plants that have formed into materials that can be burned." The sort of fossil fuel created will depend on the kind of plants or pets or animals and the quantity of temperature and pressure. The energy placed in fossil fuels formerly came from sunlight. When we burn off fossil fuels, we discharge that stored energy. All the across globe fossil fuel’s are the most widely used type of energy; fossil fuels have already been used to generate power for nearly everything that one uses. Among all the fossil fuels, gas and oil are additionally used because they are rather simple to transport, they possess low emissions, and are easy to handle. It’s been said that, aside from coal, the supply of the other fossil fuels will definitely end up being depleted in a few decades.

As of right now, regarding to Wikipedia- "Fossil fuels supply close to 86% of the world’s energy". This is a sizable percentage of energy to be given by only fossil fuels. As I have already stated, we are currently in an energy crisis and fossil fuels will be the lifeblood of our culture and for most others around the world. Our supply is slowly but surely coming to an end, which explains why we have are more than willing to head to war for it and socialize with those whom we really hate. Lately the ex – Soviet Union and several of the countries in the centre East are inside our good favor strictly due to the oil reserves that they have. Our foreign aid includes a legitimate purpose. Even though we have befriended our enemies, fossil fuels will go out and the use of them will shortly take the lives of many people. They are important reasons to find other means of getting the energy we have to continue our culture as we realize it.

So what alternatives do we’ve? Alternative kinds of energy are under development even though most of them are only in their initial stages. With more help from the federal government and public support, we might be able to speed up the development of these technologies and help free of charge ourselves from the mast volume of usage of fossil fuels.

This is definitely a significant difficulty, and as inhabitants of the environment we must all get together and try to resolve the problem at hand. Even though some scientist put a time span on how a lot longer they think that fossil fuels are going to last, no-one really knows. It’ll all rely upon how very well we manage our strength requirements along with how well we can develop and use renewable strength sources.

Nuclear power is energy which is created with the consumption of a manipulated nuclear reaction. Many nations use nuclear power plant life to generate power for both civilian and military use, and some nations also use nuclear power to run elements of their naval fleets, especially submarines. Some people favor an growth of nuclear power crops because this form of energy is considered cleaner than fossil fuels such as for example coal. Nuclear ability does indeed have a amount of that must definitely be addressed, most of all being the secure disposal of radioactive waste material.

According to Energy and the Environment, "The complete physical world is made from atoms; the term atom is derived from the Greek phrase atomos which means invisible." Atom’s, the smallest component of any element, contains tremendous energy. When it’s split a process called fission, this strength is introduced in the forms of tremendous temperature and light. It is this energy that premiered on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, by two distinct atom bombs in 1945 that led to the conclusion of World Battle II. This horrific picture designed by those two bombs led the worldwide community to condemn any more use of atomic weapons.

Still, engineers, governments and researchers realized that if the atom’s energy could possibly be controlled and harnessed, it could revolutionize the world’s strength markets and provide significant electricity reserves to help meet the world’s energy demands. It had been even envisioned that it might one day replace the necessity for fossil fuels. Subsequently, the first usable electricity from nuclear fission was manufactured at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory in 1951.

Nuclear energy requires sources of radioactive factors found naturally in our environment and manmade with which to generate the nuclear fission procedure that splits the atoms. Uranium is the most typical and most used of these elements. The only various other available sources that are used for nuclear energy is normally Plutonium and Thorium. Plutonium is not naturally occurring. Consequently, the Plutonium used in nuclear reactors is normally man-made, coming from a nuclear reactor. In line with the Ecology Global Network, "Thorium, though not yet a mainstream nuclear energy supply source, has been heavily studied and utilized as a safer, cleaner option to Uranium. Still, Uranium is usually king as the premiere company of nuclear energy."

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing nuclear strength production after any potential for nuclear disasters similar to the 1986 Chernobyl event is the disposal of the extremely radioactive wastes. Because it can take up to 10,000 years for these materials to fully breakdown into harmless elements the challenge is to shop them safely for at least that length of time. Even though it can be done, where and how are still major issues.

Exploitable Uranium supplies still pose some short-term issues. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the world’s economically exploitable Uranium reserves will probably go on between 35 and 63 years, based on whether demand is such as for example to justify the higher cost of mining not as much easily exploitable reserves.

Still, in concern of the power that can be made by Uranium and the burgeoning global strength demands, various governments are placing more focus on nuclear energy. The largest user of nuclear energy may be the United States, accompanied by France, Japan, Germany and the Russian Federation. In the US alone, the country’s 103 nuclear power crops each generate typically around 20 tons of radioactive spent petrol a year. Spent energy today sits in cooling pools and non permanent storage areas waiting for somebody to determine how to proceed with it.

When you begin to evaluate fossil fuels to nuclear strength it is possible to see that there are lots of benefits and drawbacks of both. Just because we have employed fossil fuels for almost all of the world’s energy doesn’t imply that we should continue to use what way to obtain it we’ve left. Even though nuclear energy isn’t yet as favorite as the use of fossil fuels there definitely has been and can continue to be, a growth in its use.

Advantage of Fossil Fuels

Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels

Easily distributed

Probable contributor to global warming

Inexpensive production

Cause of acid rain

Capacity to generate huge amounts of electricity in only a single location

Questionable option of some fuels

Simple combustion method can directly heat or generate electricity

Major upsurge in prices

Compared to:

Advantages of Nuclear power

Disadvantages of Nuclear Power

No Greenhouse Gases

High initial price because plant necessitates containment safeguards

No Criteria Pollutants

Waste products can be utilized to manufacture weapons

Lowest impacts on the environment

Possibility of nuclear meltdown from uncontrolled reaction

Lowest cost producer of base load electricity

Nuclear reactors only last for approximately forty to fifty years.

After we appear at and examine both fossil fuels, and nuclear energy we observe that both types of energies possess their pros and cons. There is no way that anyone could say that you will find a major difference in the two that would lead someone to believe that one is preferable to the other. As I’ve currently stated, fossil fuels are a great energy producer. When large amounts of fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and essential oil are available production could be easily done at a low cost with little or no problems. But as we know, because the option of fossil fuels is currently lessening, we have no other choice than to find alternative energy sources, consequently being the circumstance nuclear energy is an extremely good choice. Based on the Nuclear Energy Institute – Clean Air Energy, "Nuclear energy is America’s largest source of clean-air, carbon-free electricity, generating no greenhouse gases or atmosphere pollutants, nuclear power vegetation aid compliance with the CLIMATE Take action of 1970, which set standards to improve the nation’s air quality." This statement says a whole lot about Nuclear Energy and is very in a position to show readers precisely how effective using nuclear energy can be.

In conclusion, even though I believe fossil fuels have dished up us significantly while they have already been round in a plentiful source; I believe we now have to come out from the status we are in, one that relies completely on fossil fuels alone. We need to venture out and try new method of energy production; different means such as for example nuclear power. I believe that despite the fact that nuclear power may involve some high initial costs it really is well worth it. As Ross Garnaut stated, "A revolution in humanity’s use of fossil fuel-based energy would be necessary sooner or later to sustain also to extend modern expectations of living. It will be required sooner if we happen to be to hold the risks of climate change to acceptable levels. The expenses that we bear to make an early adjustment will bring forwards, and reduce for upcoming times, the expenses of the inevitable eventual adjustment away from fossil fuels."

Reference Page

Cohen, Bernard L. The Nuclear Energy Option. Plenum, 1990.

The Ecology Global Network | Ecology News and Details for Residents of THE WORLD. Web. 16 Nov. 2009. .

Nuclear Energy Institute – Clean-Air Energy. Web. 16 Nov. 2009. .

Toossi, Reza. Energy and the Environment-Sources, technologies, and impacts. 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: VerVe Inc., 2008

Wikipedia. Web. 16 Nov. 2009. .