In nuclear fission, atoms are split apart to form smaller atoms, releasing energy. Nuclear power plants use nuclear fission to produce electricity. ( [DFer1]

Nuclear Chain Reaction
external image fg0-7645-5430-1_0503.jpg ( [DFer1]
U235 + n → fission + 2 or 3 n + 200 MeV
If each neutron releases two more neutrons, then the number of fissions doubles each generation. In that case, in 10 generations there are 1,024 fissions and in 80 generations about 6 x 10 23 (a mole) fissions. ( [DFer1]

A nuclear chain reaction occurs when on an average more than one neutron from a nuclear fission reaction causes another fission reaction. The reaction taking place in an atom bomb is an uncontrolled chain reaction. Whereas in a nuclear reactor it is a controlled chain reaction. In a controlled chain reaction of U-235 the two neutrons out of the three neutrons released are absorbed by control rods made either of cadmium or boron. [DKho8]In the 1930s, scientists discovered that some nuclear reactions can be initiated and controlled. Scientists usually accomplished this task by bombarding a large isotope with a second, smaller one — commonly a neutron. The collision caused the larger isotope to break apart into two or more elements, which is called nuclear fission. Figure 1 shows the equation for the nuclear fission of uranium-235.external image fg0-7645-5430-1_0101.jpg

  • Figure 1: The equation for nuclear fission.
Reactions of this type also release a lot of energy. Where does the energy come from? Well, if you make very accurate measurement of the masses of all the atoms and subatomic particles you start with and all the atoms and subatomic particles you end up with, and then compare the two, you find that there's some "missing" mass. Matter disappears during the nuclear reaction. This loss of matter is called the mass defect. The missing matter is converted into energy. (www.dummies.comhow-to/.../nuclear-fission-basics.html) [KCRA8]

external image a-nuclear-fission-chain-reaction.png?w=389&h=600

  • Fission Bomb (a.k.a the nuclear bomb)- The development of the Nuclear Bomb is what drove the initial research of Nuclear Fission. This research started with "The Manhattan Project" which was led by the US Military during World War two.[JGor7](
  • Critical Fission Reactors- This is the most common type of nuclear reactor. Neutrons that are produced by fission of fuel atoms are used to produce even more fission (splitting of atoms), to sustain a controllable amount of energy release. Common uses for Critical Fission Reactors are:[JGor7] (
  • Fission reactions can produce any combination of lighter nuclei so long as the number of protons and neutrons in the products sum up to those in the initial fissioning nucleus.([JWoo1]
  • we also use fission peacefully everyday to produce energy in nuclear power plants([[[JWoo1]]]
The splitting of atoms cannot be effectively accomplished with electrically charged matter such as alpha particles, beta particles, or protons, which tend to be diverted or slowed down as they approach other charged matter. Neutrons, however, are not deflected by positive or negative electrical charges, and this fact makes them ideal candidates for atom smashing. ( [TPor1]

How does nuclear power work

Nuclear power plants use reactors made from uranium, plutonium, and other elements with unstable bonds, to make steam that drives a turbine in an electric generator. Atoms, the basic building blocks of all elements, are comprised of small structures known as electrons, protons, and neutrons. Held together by “the strongest force in nature,” when bombarded by neutrons a massive amount of energy is released. “Control rods” monitor the reaction by absorbing free neutrons thus controlling the amount of heat produced. Energy released from the reaction heats water to over 500 degrees F producing steam and spinning the turbines. As the generator spins a magnetic field is disrupted and electricity is produced. Finally, the steam is cooled - condensing back to water - and recycled through the entire process again. [BBre8]

Nuclear Power Comes from Fission

Most power plants, including nuclear plants, use heat to produce electricity. They rely on steam from heated water to spin large turbines, which generate electricity. Instead of burning fossil fuels to produce the steam, nuclear plants use heat given off during fission. [DKho8]
In nuclear fission, atoms are split apart to form smaller atoms, releasing energy. Fission takes place inside the reactor of a nuclear power plant. At the center of the reactor is the core, which contains the uranium fuel. [DKho8]
The uranium fuel is formed into ceramic pellets. The pellets are about the size of your fingertip, but each one produces roughly the same amount of energy as 150 gallons of oil. These energy-rich pellets are stacked end-to-end in 12-foot metal fuel rods. A bundle of fuel rods, sometimes hundreds, is called a fuel assembly. A reactor core contains many fuel assemblies. [DKho8]
The heat given off during fission in the reactor core is used to boil water into steam, which turns the turbine blades. As they turn, they drive generators that make electricity. Afterward, the steam is cooled back into water in a separate structure at the power plant called a cooling tower. The water can be used again and again. [DKho8]
Nuclear Energy Is Energy from Atoms. In nuclear fission, atoms are split apart to form smaller atoms, releasing energy. Nuclear power plants use this energy to produce electricity. ( [KSta1]
Nuclear energy has to deal with the splitting of atoms. The splitting of an atom releases an incredible amount of heat and gamma radiation, or radiation made of high-energy photons. The two atoms that result from the fission later release beta radiation (super fast electrons) and gamma radiation of their own as well. The energy released by a single fission comes from the fact that the fission products and the neutrons, together, weigh less than the original U-235 atom. The difference in weight is converted directly to energy at a rate governed by the equation E = mc2. ( [KSta1]

As an energy source, nuclear power is both efficient and relatively safe, despite claims to the contrary. In comparison, there have been far more fossil fuel related accidents (mining, handling, extraction, implementation) than reactor accidents. Although nuclear disposal methods have been under fire for the past fifty years, the amount of waste currently being generated has a minimal impact on the environment. Head to head analysis of kilowatt output of uranium and coal, the leading fossil fuel, will show that per gram, uranium will outperform coal almost 100,000 to 1. [BBre8]

Benefits of using nuclear fission:

    • Nuclear power costs about the same as coal, so it's not expensive to make.
    • Does not produce smoke or carbon dioxide, so it does not contribute to the greenhouse effect.
    • Produces huge amounts of energy from small amounts of fuel.
    • Produces small amounts of waste.
    • Nuclear power is reliable.[Jwoo1]

The amount of free energy contained in nuclear fuel is millions of times the amount of free energy contained in a similar mass of chemical fuel such as gasoline, making nuclear fission a very tempting source of energy. [DKho8]The biggest advantage is that it is an established way to generate electricity without emitting carbon dioxide. This is more and more important as global warming becomes a real threat to the environment.[SBra7]

Between 1973 and 1990, our GDP, which is the measurement of a nation's wealth, grew by about 50 percent. In the same period, electricity use grew by 58 percent. From this information, we can conclude that in order to meet the needs of our strong economy and our growing population, we must have reliable supplies of electric power. The nation's nuclear power plants produced 674 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 1996. This was more electricity than the entire country consumed in the early 1950s. Worldwide, there are 442 nuclear power plants at work, contributing about 19 percent of the world's electricity supply. ( [DFer1]

They produce much of the electricity that fuels our economic growth. They power new industrial technologies that boost our Gross National Product and improve our global competitiveness.
  • The fuel in the reactor core consists of several tons of uranium. As the reactor is operated, the uranium content gradually decreases because of fission, and the radioactive waste products (the fission fragments) bu
  • ild up. After about a year of operation, the reactor must be shut down for refueling. The old fuel rods are pulled out and replaced. These fuel rods, which are very radioactive, are stored under water at the power plant site. After five to ten years, much of their radioactivity has decayed. Only those materials with a long radioactive lifetime remain, and eventually they will be stored in a suitable underground depository. ( [KCRA8]
  • Nuclear power is particularly suitable for vessels which need to be at sea for long periods without refuelling, or for powerful submarine propulsion. [PMan1]
  • The biggest advantage is that it is an established way to generate electricity without emitting carbon dioxide. This is more and more important as global warming becomes a real threat to the environment. ( [KSta1]
  • The Earth has limited supplies of coal and oil. Nuclear power plants could still produce electricity after coal and oil become scarce. Nuclear power plants need less fuel than ones which burn fossil fuels. One ton of uranium produces more energy than is produced by several million tons of coal or several million barrels of oil. Coal and oil burning plants pollute the air. Well-operated nuclear power plants do not release contaminants into the environment. ( [KSta1]
The energy released by fission is a million times greater than that released in chemical reactions; but lower than the energy released bynuclear fusion. [JWOO1](

Since l973, nuclear energy has displaced 4.3 billion barrels of imported oil and reduced our trade deficit by $12S billion. [PMan1]

At the time of the 1973 oil embargo, oil accounted for about 17 percent of U.S. electric supply; nuclear energy was about 5 percent. In 1990, oil represented only about 4 percent of U.S. electric supply, nuclear energy about 21 percent. So, nuclear energy has drastically reduced our dependence on imported oil.

The amount of free energy contained in nuclear fuel is millions of times the amount of free energy contained in a similar mass of chemical fuel such as gasoline, making nuclear fission a very tempting source of energy. [DKho8]

  • For four consecutive decades, nuclear power has been the fastets growing major energy source in the world. [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • Today, thirty one nations have nuclear power. [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • Nations like Indonesia and Vietnam are planning on using it for the first time in the near future. [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • The US nuclear industry plans 50% growth over the next 20 years. [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)

Some 435 nuclear power plants operating around the world generate about 345,000 MWe of electricity in 32 countries, about one-sixth the world’s electricity supply. [DKho8]

Some countries depend vitally on the electricity generated by nuclear energy. France generates 76% of its electricity from nuclear power plants; Belgium–56%, South Korea–36%, Switzerland–40%, Sweden–47%, Finland–30%, Japan–33%, and the United Kingdom–25%. Bulgaria generates 46% of its electricity from nuclear power, Hungary–42%, and the Czech Republic and Slovakia combined–20%. [DKho8]

Although the United States is not a leader in percentage, it has the largest total electric output from nuclear power: 98,000 MWe from 105 plants, generating around 20% of US electric power. [DKho8]

The use of nuclear reactors to generate electricity continues to increase all over the world. By December of 1979, about 128,000 million watts were being generated by 249 reactors operating in 22 countries. [DKho8]

Environmental impact of using nuclear fission (Both +/-):

If something does go wrong in a really big way, much of the world could be affected - some radioactive dust (called "fallout") from the Chernobyl accident landed in the UK. That's travelled a long way.
With AGR reactors (the most common type in Britain) there are additional safety systems, such as flooding the reactor with nitrogen and/or water to absorb all the neutrons - although the water option means that reactor can never be restarted.
So should I worry? I think the answer is "so long as things are being done properly, I don't need to worry too much. The bit that does worry me is the small amount of high-level nuclear waste from power stations. Although there's not much of it, it's very, very dangerous and we have no way to deal with it apart from bury
it and wait for a few thousand years...[JWOO1](

As far as the environmental effects of these routine releases are concerned a system of
dose limitation to control public exposure to radiation is adopted in mostly all cases.
This system of dose limitation is based in a tripod which includes the justification of a
practice, the optimization of protection of public exposure, and dose limits for public
exposure. Usually the concept of collective effective dose per unit of practice is used in
the justification of a practice and in the optimization of protection.( [KCRA8]

  • While initially nuclear power seemed to be an answer to the problems of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, many people feel that costs far outweigh the benefits. Nuclear power is a non-renewable energy source. The process requires extensive mining of uranium which is one of the least abundant elements on the Earth. Harvested mostly in the Western U.S., the mines both disrupt the landscape and have severe environmental impacts: groundwater becomes polluted, radioactive tailings are left in the open, and heavy metals are released into soils and water. In the United States alone, there are 140 million tons of radioactive tailings that still need to be disposed. [BBre8]
  • Uranium is a radioactive substance and therefore causes severe health problems. Exposure to radioactive materials causes mutations on a cellular and molecular level; mutations that lead to birth defects, cancer, miscarriages, and death in many animals. Anti-nuclear activists claim that communities situated in proximity of a plant live in a “fog of radiation” that constantly toxifies the body. This constant exposure not only leads to noticeable diseases such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but also subtly effects the functioning of muscles and nerves. [BBre8]
  • Radioactive nuclear waste also poses a large problem. By 2015 American plants will have generated an estimated 75,000 metric tons of waste. While radioactive elements decay over time, U-235 (the uranium used for energy) has a half-life of 713 million years. This means that the tons of waste will remain radioactive long past any of our lifetimes! This waste is divided into two categories: “low-level” and “high-level”. High level waste refers to the fuel rods that catalyze the nuclear reaction at the plant. Since uranium and other radioactive elements stay hazardous for so many years, high level waste does not disappear. Currently, the rods are shipped to Nevada and held at a temporary storage site where they await permanent disposal. Low-level waste is also radioactive but not as concentrated as the fuel rods. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission states that shallow burial of this waste is acceptable. Currently, low-level waste is shipped to a dumpsite in a poor, mostly African American town in South Carolina. [BBre8]

  • One of the best kept secrets about nuclear power its impact on the environment. There is very little. Generating electricity from nuclear power produces no air pollution because fuel is not burned as it is in coal and oil or gas-fired plants. In fact, using nuclear energy may become one way to solve pollution problem linked to acid rain and the greenhouse effect.
People are using more and more electricity. Some experts predict that we will have to use nuclear energy to produce the amount of electricity people need at cost they can afford. Whether or not we should use nuclear energy to produce electricity has become a controversial and sometimes highly emotional issue.[JWOO1](

The main objections to nuclear power plants are the fear of possible accidents, the unresolved problem of nuclear waste storage, and the possibility of plutonium diversion for weapons production by a terrorist group. The issue of waste storage becomes particularly emotional because leakage from a waste depository could contaminate ground water. Chemical dump sites have leaked in the past, so there is distrust of all hazardous wastes.
The main advantage of nuclear power plants is that they do not cause atmospheric pollution. No smokestacks are needed because nothing is being burned. France initiated a large-scale nuclear program after the Arab oil embargo in l973 and has been able to reduce its acid rainand carbon dioxide emissions by more than 40%. Nuclear power plants do not contribute to the global warming problem. Shipments of fuel are minimal so the hazards of coal transportation and oil spills are avoided. ( [KCRA8]
After the fuel has been in the reactor for about 18 months, much of the uranium has already fissioned and a considerable quantity of fission products have built up in the fuel. The reactor is then refueled by replacing about 1/3 of the fuel rods. This generally takes one or two months.( [KCRA8]
Nuclear power is a carbon-free source of energy
that can reduce CO
2 emissions by displacing the use of fossil
fuels. The present level of carbon displacement is approxi-
mately 0.5 gigatonnes of carbon per year (GtC/year), compared
to the nearly 8 GtC/year emitted by the use of fossil fuels.
However, there are three major negative environmental impacts
of nuclear power: catastrophic accidents, nuclear weapons, and
nuclear waste.1 The last two, weapons and waste, are directly
tied to the type of nuclear fuel cycle (Figure 4 in the main
nuclear article by Raj et al. in this issue). The different fuel
cycles reflect different strategies for the utilization of fissile
nuclides, mainly 235U and 239Pu, and these different strategies
have important implications for nuclear waste management and
nuclear weapons proliferation.
of nuclear power based on extensive chemical processing of
used nuclear fuels to separate valuable and troublesome radio-
nuclides. Separated transuranium elements, such as Pu, Np,
Cm, and Am, would be consumed in “burner” reactors that use
fast neutrons. The neutron energy spectrum has a significant
effect on the fission product yield, and the consumption of long-
lived actinides by fission is best achieved by fast neutrons.
Short-lived fission product elements, such as 137Cs and 90Sr,
could be separated from long-lived fission product elements,
such as 99Tc and 129I, and different waste forms and disposal
strategies would be used for each waste stream. The possibility
of chemically processing the used fuel has stimulated renewed
interest in the development of nuclear materials, including ( Positive Impacts:) [KCRA8]

Negative Impacts:
  • With the use of Nuclear Fission, comes the ability to create and use nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are created to cause mass destruction in a concentrated area of land. Once a Nuclear weapon detonates, massive amounts of toxins and radiations are sent into the earths atmosphere, causing such impacts as acid rain, lingering radiation for long amounts of time, and many pre-born disorders for future generations of children whose parents were affected by the radiation. [JGor7](
  • The ability to use and manage Nuclear Fission also introduces the threat of catastrophic accidents such as nuclear waste. Nuclear waste contains deadly amounts of radiation. One of the most notorious cases or Nuclear Waste becoming deadly was that of Chernobyl. Large amounts of nuclear waste can sink into the ground, infection water along with plants and farms in the affected area. This happens when safety precautions arn't properly carried through when managing a nuclear fission reactor.[JGor7](
  • When nuclear fuel is removed from a reactor, the level of radioactivity has increased a million-fold (105 TBq per metric tonne of fuel) as a result of the creation of many hundreds of new radionuclides by a variety of in-reactor nuclear reactions, as is described in the following.Fission of 235U and 239Pu creates a bimodal distribution of fission product elements. Some are short-lived, such as 137Cs and 90Sr, with half-lives of approximately 30 years, but others, such as 99Tc (213,000 years) and 129I (16 million yearsare long-lived. This is bad for the environment. This is from the book Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Environmental Impact byRodney C. Ewing member of the University of Michigan, USA) ( [KSta1]
Nuclear bomb blast or exposure to the facility is immediate death ( [DFer1]
  • The environmental damage caused by nuclear power plants in 50 years of use is devastating. Radioactive waste, even now, is clandestinely sent to the developing world, where it is buried underground or thrown in the sea. If that's not possible it's stored in temporary surface deposits. ( [PBol1]

  • The US has ten principal areas of storage. Hanford, in Washington, has for decades dumped radioactive materials and has committed its population within at least 1450 square kilometres to the possibility of cancers. ( [PBol1]
  • In Europe the English nuclear reactors of Sellafield (Windscale), Winfrith and Dounreay have discharged millions of litres of radioactive waste in the Irish Sea since 1950. Today the Irish Sea is considered the most contaminated in the world. From 1950 to 1963 England dumped barrels of radioactive waste in the North Sea, and the French reactor of uranium reprocessing at La Hague discharges hundreds of litres of radioactive waste a year in the Channel.
  • Russia can claim the three most contaminated sites in the world (excluding Chernobyl): Seversk (Tomsk-7), Mayak (Chelyabinsk-40) and Zheleznogorsk (Krasnoyarsk-26). In these zones the liquid radioactive waste of medium and high levels was systematically discharged in enormous quantities in the local terrain and rivers. Thousands of square kilometres are highly contaminated.
( [PBol1]
On the other hand, fission is a nuclear process which does not normally occur in nature. The reason for this is that it requires a large mass and an incident neutron to initiate the process. But there have been examples where nuclear fission has occured in natural reactors. This was discovered in 1972 wherein uranium deposits were found at one location which could self sustain a natural chain reaction. 16 deposits have been discovered of these deposits at this lone site.[JWOO1](
nuclear power makes no contribution to global warming through the emission of carbon dioxide. Nuclear power also produces no notable sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, or particulates. When nuclear power is produced, nothing is burned in a conventional sense. Heat is produced through nuclear fission, not oxidation. Nuclear power does produce spent fuels of roughly the same mass and volume as the fuel that the reactor takes in. These spent fuels are kept within the reactor’s fuel assemblies, thus unlike fossil fuels, which emit stack gasses to the ambient environment, solid wastes at nuclear power plants are contained throughout the generation process. No particulates or ash are emitted.( [KCRA8]
However, there are three major negative environmental impacts
of nuclear power: catastrophic accidents, nuclear weapons, and
nuclear waste. ( [DFer1]

Nuclear power plants are very “clean-burning” and their efficiency is rather staggering. Nuclear power is generated at 80% efficiency, meaning that the energy produced by the fission reactions is almost equal to the energy put into producing the fission reactions in the first place. There is not a lot of waste material generated by nuclear fission—although, due to the fact that there is no such thing as creating energy without also creating some measure of waste, there is some. The concerns of people such as environmentalists with regards to using nuclear power as an alternative energy source center around this waste, which is radioactive gases which have to be contained. ( [KCRA8]
The violence of the chain reaction is such that it can also yield what are called activation products, i.e. it can cause already existing chemicals in air, water or other nearby materials to absorb energy, change their structure slightly and become radioactive. As these high-energy forms of natural materials eventually return to their normal stable state, they can also release ionising radiation. About 300 different radioactive chemicals are created with each chain reaction.[**1**] It takes hundreds of thousands of years for all the newly formed radioactive chemicals to return to a stable ( [KCRA8]
An abundant supply of electric energy generated at low cost
with minimal adverse environmental effects is essential to
civilized society. Generation of electricity by nuclear fission
is capable of meeting all three of these requirements: abundant
supply, low cost, and minimal environmental effect.( [KCRA8]

However, several problems cloud fission’s potential as an acceptable power source today and into
the future: disposal of radioactive waste; concern about nuclear weapons proliferation; concern about safe
operation of plants; and noncompetitive economics.( [KCRA8]

  • The main concern of nuclear power is the escape of radiation from nuclear fuel. [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • Cancer clusters have been found in surrounding towns around nuclear power plants. [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • There is a variety of radio active ants, roaches, rats, gnats, flies, worms, and pigeons found around nuclear power plants. [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • Nuclear waste remains in the area for years after power plants have been shut down. [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • It produces a third of nuclear energy [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • Despite its current limited supply, nuclear energy now provides the vast majority of the US's emission free generation [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • In 2002 the use of nuclear energy helped the US avvoid the release of 189 million tons of carbon into the air [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • Carbon emissions would have been 29% higher with out nuclear power [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • In 2002, carbon emissions avoided by nuclear power were 1.7 times larger than those avoided by all renewable resources combined [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • Nuclear waste can be stored and saved for future use unlike other natural resources. [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • People who live near nuclear power plants tend to be more fat due to inhaling toxins which increase fat solubility [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • Each typical 1000 megawatt nuclear reactor manufactures 33 tons of thermally hot intensely radioactive waste per year [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • More than 80 thousand tons of highly radioactive waste sits in cooling ponds next to 103 US nuclear power plants. [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)
  • These cooling ponds are said to be an attractive target for future terrorist attacks [APer7] (Energy Alternatives: Opposing Viewpoints)

Aside from the pollutants it dumps into the air, a 1,000 megawatt fossil fuel plant produces as waste 36,500 truckloads of ash, which contains such deadly items as arsenic, lead and mercury. [PMan1]

Nevertheless, the requirements for the operation of nuclear power plants result in environmental impacts, including air emissions, at all stages of the uranium fuel procurement process. [PMan1]

While plant operations do not result in air emissions similar to those of fossil plants, nuclear plants can release small amounts of airborne radioactive gasses, such as carbon-14 and iodine-131. [PMan1]

Whereas the amount of solid wastes generated at nuclear plants is relatively small, these radioactive wastes pose health risks that exceed that of any other source of electricity. It is quite possible that these radioactive wastes will be stored for a century or more at existing nuclear plant sites, a prospect that may preclude any future re-uses of these contaminated lands [PMan1]

Nuclear plants that rely upon water for once-through cooling systems require two-and-a-half times as much water as fossil fuel plants. [PMan1]

Uranium mining mimics techniques used for coal and similar issues of toxic contamination of local land and water resources arise -- as do unique radioactive contamination hazards to mine workers and nearby populations. Abandoned mines contaminated with high-level radioactive waste can continue to pose radioactive risks for as long as 250,000 years after closure.[PMan1]

Nuclear power is a carbon-free source of energy
that can reduce CO2 emissions by displacing the use of fossilfuels. The present level of carbon displacement is approximately0.5 gigatonnes of carbon per year (GtC/year), compared
to the nearly 8 GtC/year emitted by the use of fossil fuels. [PMan1]

Nuclear plants use diesel generators (and some times gas, or combustion, turbines) for emergency electrical power. These diesels or turbines are typically started and run at least once a month to ensure they can function as backup power, if required, during a loss of power condition or accident condition. When these diesels or turbines startup, usually black plumes of exhaust gases are released. Operation of these diesels or turbines is the only source of greenhouse gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides) at a nuclear plant. [PMan1]

Radioactive gases may be removed from the systems supporting the reactor cooling system. These gases removed are compressed and stored. The gases are periodically sampled and can only be released when the radioactivity is less than an acceptable level according to the 10CFR20regulation. Releases of this nature are done very infrequently. [PMan1]

Economic costs of using nuclear fusion:

  • Economically, nuclear power is also a problem: the costs outweigh the benefits. Poorly designed buildings and costly materials caused many plants to enter into debt at their outset. Many plants still have not been able to reduce their debt because of the oil crisis in the 1970s. Increased energy efficiency, inflation coupled with high lending rates, and public skepticism all contributed to a rise in cost for nuclear power. Today, many nuclear power plants are old and eroded, suffering from cracks and stress. Utilities that once cost millions of dollars are selling for a fraction of their construction costs and modern construction of these facilities is extremely costly. A recent plant in Darlington, Ontario cost the province over $13 billion. Thus, the story of nuclear power is a tale of ups and downs, minute benefits and huge costs. Nuclear power is becoming less appealing as increasing numbers of citizens are wary of its hazards. Only 16% of the world’s energy comes from nuclear reactors and alternative technologies are both safer and cheaper. According to an Ontario-based educative organization, one dollar spent on nuclear power can minimize seven times the carbon dioxide if the money went towards increased energy efficient technologies. Although nuclear power does not generate any greenhouse gases, since it is non-renewable, unsafe, and costly, we feel that other alternative energy sources are more feasible and environmentally sound.[Jwoo1](
  • The cost of producing electricity from nuclear energy is somewhat higher than the cost of producing electricity from coal. Much of the cost of producing electricity at a nuclear plant comes not from the fuel source-uranium is very inexpensive at just $11 a ton-but from the cost of building the plant. Building a nuclear power plant is very expensive because of the high costs of licensing, construction, and inspection.
The cost of producing nuclear electricity is about two cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). In comparison, the cost of producing electrical power from new coal plants is approximately four cents per kWh.
Uranium is an abundant natural resource that is found all over the world. At current rates of use, uranium resources could last more than 500 years. (A process called "breeding," which converts uranium into plutonium-an even better fuel--could extend uranium reserves for millions of years. Breeder reactors are already being used in France, but they are not planned for use in this country.) And because uranium is an extremely concentrated fuel source, it requires far less mining and transportation than other fuel sources for the energy it furnishes.[JWOO1](
Some peopl e praise the technology as a low-cost, low-emission alternative to fossil fuels, while others stress the negative impact of nuclear waste and accidents such as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.( [KCRA8]
    • Nuclear fission: The inefficiency of cost comes into play when it is considered that nuclear fuel creates heat and this heat is used to boil the water and the steam produced is used to turn turbine to generate electricity. This transformation from heat energy to electrical energy is cumbersome and expensive. A second source of inefficiency is that clean-up and storage of nuclear waste is very expensive because the waste is radioactive and finally security issues add to the cost of nuclear energy.[JWOO1](
Nuclear fission plants are currently enormously inefficient. At present, they extract only about .7% of natural uraniums thermal energy potential, and of that .7%, they convert less than 40% into electrical power.

In other words, their overall efficiency is only about .28%, less than 3 parts in 1000 of natural uraniums energy potential is utilized. This is actually a major reason that nuclear fission power plants produce so much long lived radioactive waste, because so much of that energy potential is not utilized.

Of that .28% that is successfully extracted, about 17% will be lost in transmission line loss, and about 50% will go unused because it will at a time when there is less demand than there is electricity produced and nuclear fission reactors can not be rapidly throttled. ( [KCRA8]
The cost of nuclear energy is promoted as being about 2 cents per KWh, while that produced by gas is 4 cents per KWh, and by oil, hydro-electric and wind power 7 cents per KWh. Thus expressed, nuclear energy appears to be considerably the least expensive. But that cost is based only on operating expenses and does not include the expenses of the construction of the nuclear power plant, its maintenance and management of radioactive waste, and finally the dismantling of the plant at the end of its productive cycle.
The construction cost of a medium-capacity nuclear power plant is about $1.5 billion.
After 30 years the plant has exhausted its physiological cycle of production and must be dismantled. The demolition of a nuclear power plant costs at least as much as its construction. To give an example, the total cost of the closure of the Eccellente-Phenix reactor in France was estimated at $2.4 billion. The strictly economic arguments for nuclear power are thus critically flawed.[JWoo1](

  • Nuclear Fission is advertised as being 3 cents per KWh(Kilowatt Hour). Although this may sound cheap, the more expensive side of creating nuclear fission is the cost of making the nuclear power plant. The cost of a medium sized nuclear power plant is about $1.5 billion. These power plants only last around 30 years, after 30 years they must be demolished and a new one must be built, costing another couple billion of dollars. [Jgor7]

( )

  • Many of the first plants to be constructed were huge, enabling them to produce the greatest amount of power possible. More recent designs are smaller, making them less costly and easier to build. But despite their many technical and engineering differences, nuclear reactors come in two basic types: pressurized water systems and boiling water systems. ( [TPor1]

Currently, about half of all nuclear power plants are located in the US. There are many different kinds of nuclear power plants, and we will discuss a few important designs in this text. A nuclear power plant harnesses the energy inside atoms themselves and converts this to electricity. This electricity is used by all of us. By now, you should have an idea of the fission process and how it works. A nuclear power plant uses controlled nuclear fission. In this section, we will explore how a nuclear power plant operates and the manner in which nuclear reactions are controlled. [PBol1]

When you look at the so-called "nuclear fuel cycle", you realize pretty quickly that this nuclear fuel cycle is mainly a rather expensive method of producing a large amount of some pretty dangerous waste. Furthermore, it becomes quickly clear that we're not actually dealing with a cycle by any means here, but rather, it's a cycle with a great number of open ends if one might call it a cycle at all. So, one cannot speak of "recycling" in any sense as suggested by the term.
The four theses are as follows:
1) Nuclear power is more expensive than it is usually declared to be. And we can assume that it will become even more expensive due to the costs of the nuclear fuel cycle, for example, the costs of disposal which will continue to escalate as they have over the last decades.
2) Atomic electricity, that is, electricity from nuclear power plants, is at least as expensive as the electricity from comparable sources of energy. For a long time, atomic power was supposedly preferable because it was not only cleaner, safer, etc., but also cheap. This is not true.
3) In terms of environmental impact, it has often been claimed -- and it is still claimed -- that atomic power is the solution to the global warming problem, the green house effect. This is not true, it's wrong, it's ideology and propaganda. On the contrary, other sources of electricity are considerably more effective in reducing the green house effect.
4) The most efficient method of supplying power, economically as well as ecologically, and in terms of social effects, is power that is not put to use, meaning an efficient power usage.
( [PBol1]

We've tried to figure all this out somehow (...). I'll spare you the numbers and tell you what we've come up with: The entire fuel cycle -- that is, from uranium mining to disposal -- it costs, if you don't count the reclaiming of the uranium mine and the uranium waste, so they're not included, and the costs of the final repositories are only very roughly calculated, and if you leave out the infrastructure costs altogether, you come to 4.5 to 17 dollars per megawatt hour of energy, that is, for the fuel cycle costs alone. ( [DFer1]

  • Nuclear power is cost competitive with other forms of electricity generation, except where there is direct access to low-cost fossil fuels.
In January 2010, the approx. US $ cost to get 1 kg of uranium as UO2 reactor fuel at current spot price (about two thirds of long-term price):
8.9 kg U3O8 x $115.50
US$ 1028

7.5 kg U x $12
US$ 90

7.3 SWU x $164
US$ 1197

Fuel fabrication:
per kg
US$ 240

Total, approx:

US$ 2555


The US Congressional Budget Office undertook a study over 2007-08 quantifying the effects of likely carbon emission costs and limited federal subsidies on the commercial viability of new advanced nuclear technology in the USA. With carbon emission costs of about $45 per tonne CO2, nuclear would be competitive with coal and natural gas even without other incentives. [PMan1]

The French Energy & Climate Directorate published in November 2008 an update of its 2003 study. This shied away from cash figures to a large extent due to rapid changes in both fuel and capital, but showed that at anything over 6000 hours production per year (68% capacity factor), nuclear was cheaper than coal or gas combined cycle (CCG). [PMan1]

The Energy Department is close to naming a blue-ribbon committee to consider new policies for dealing with spent nuclear reactor fuel but has further to go in completing negotiations on loan guarantees for a first group of new nuclear reactors, Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman said. Poneman said the flexibility that smaller modular reactors offer could increase nuclear development opportunities in the United States. "And in the international arena, there are some countries that may not have a grid that would stably support a big, 1,000-megawatt plant, but they might be able to take a smaller, 350-megawatt plant," he said. [PMan1]

In May 2009 an update of the 2003 MIT study was published. This said that "since 2003 construction costs for all types of large-scale engineered projects have escalated dramatically. The estimated cost of constructing a nuclear power plant has increased at a rate of 15% per year heading into the current economic downturn. [PMan1]

Uranium has the advantage of being a highly concentrated source of energy which is easily and cheaply transportable. The quantities needed are very much less than for coal or oil. One kilogram of natural uranium will yield about 20,000 times as much energy as the same amount of coal. It is therefore intrinsically a very portable and tradeable commodity. [PMan1}

The cost of producing electricity from nuclear energy is somewhat higher than the cost of producing electricity from coal. Much of the cost of producing electricity at a nuclear plant comes not from the fuel source-uranium is very inexpensive at just $11 a ton-but from the cost of building the plant. Building a nuclear power plant is very expensive because of the high costs of licensing, construction, and inspection.
The cost of producing nuclear electricity is about two cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). In comparison, the cost of producing electrical power from new coal plants is approximately four cents per kWh. ( [DFer1]

Is there be any opposition to the use of nuclear fission? Why? Do you agree or disagree with those views?:

Getty Images
NO NUKES Greenpeace demonstrators wave an anti-nuclear banner as they stand on the roof of a truck near a nuclear treatment facility in western France. [BBre8]

No 'China Syndrome'
Let's turn to the critics' other argument: safety. We're still living in a world whose viewpoints have been warped by the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania and the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl plant in the Ukraine, as well as by the anti-nuclear movie "The China Syndrome."
The truth is that there's little doubt that in the U.S., at least, plants are much safer now than they were in the past. Those accidents led regulators and the industry to bolster safety at U.S. nuclear plants. There are more safety features at the plants, plant personnel are better trained, and reactors have been redesigned so that accidents are far less likely to occur. For instance, every U.S. plant has an on-site control-room simulator where employees can hone their skills and handle simulated emergencies, and plant workers spend one week out of every six in the simulator or in the classroom. The next generation of plants is designed to be even safer, using fewer pumps and piping and relying more on gravity to move water for cooling the hot nuclear core. This means fewer possible places where equipment failure could cause a serious accident. And even if a serious accident does occur, U.S. plants are designed to make sure that no radiation is released into the environment. Reactors are contained inside a huge structure of reinforced concrete with walls that are as much as four feet thick; the Chernobyl reactor lacked such a structure. What's more, you can't look at safety in a vacuum. Consider the hazards of the world's reliance on coal-fired plants: Coal mining world-wide results in several thousand deaths every year, most of them in China, and burning coal is a leading source of mercury in the atmosphere. Furthermore, look at safety more broadly -- from an environmental perspective. The death and destruction stemming from global warming far exceed what is likely to happen if there is a nuclear accident. And yet, when we talk about safety, we seem to focus only on the risks of nuclear power. [BBre8]
  • Yes, there is often times opposition to nuclear fission, just as there is opposition to nearly any world issue. Nuclear Fission can be very costly and at times it can be dangerous (like the incident at Chernobyl). Many families were lost due to such a preventable accident, and it is because of careless mistakes that families and individuals are against the use of nuclear fission. Personally, I believe that there are more cost efficient and safer ways to generate new energy. Nuclear fission costs massive amounts of taxpayers and government money. [JGor7]


Nuclear power isn't a solution to global warming. Rather, global warming is just a convenient rationale for an obsolete energy source that makes no sense when compared to the alternatives. Sure, nuclear power generates lots of electricity while producing virtually no carbon dioxide. But it still faces the same problems that have stymied the development of new nuclear plants for the past 20 years -- exorbitant costs, the risks of an accident or terrorist attack, the threat of proliferation and the challenge of disposing of nuclear waste. The cost issue alone will mean that few if any new nuclear power stations will get built in the next few years, at least in the U.S., and any that do will require expensive taxpayer subsidies. Instead of subsidizing the development of new plants that have all these other problems, the U.S. would be better off investing in other ways to meet growing energy demands and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. In fact, the sheer number of nuclear plants needed to make a major dent in greenhouse emissions means the industry hasn't a prayer of turning nuclear power into the solution to global warming. One study from last year determined that to make a significant contribution toward stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide, about 21 new 1,000-megawatt plants would have to be built each year for the next 50 years, including those needed to replace existing reactors, all of which are expected to be retired by 2050. That's considerably more than the most ambitious industry growth projections. [BBre8]

  • The highest single breast-cancer rate in Long Island was reported by the State Tumor Registry for the community group Brookhaven-Bellport, which is located south of B.N.L., in accordance with "Brookhaven Reactor Fire Raises Questions on Nuclear Hazards,” referring to previous reports of radioactive contamination of B.N.L. ground water's flowing south. The 200,000 women living within 15 miles of the B.N.L. reactor were reported to have rates 11 percent above the county average. ( [TPor1]
  • Many Americans began to distrust the nuclear industry after the accident at Three Mile Island. Not helping the industry was a major movie that year called The China Syndrome. The movie dramatized events at a fictional California nuclear power plant that were eerily similar to the Three Mile Island accident. Its title referred to the theoretical possibility that an overheated nuclear reactor could melt its way through the Earth to China. ( [TPor1]

  • Yes - it is wasteful. The nuclear power program in the USA had originally intended to
    reprocess spent nuclear fuel and recycle fissile material back to the reactors. However, in the early '70s when this was about to happen, the anti-nuclear crowd went to Court and it was ruled that the U.S. Government had to comply with the newly passed Environmental Protection Act, and do an evironmental impact statement on the decision to reprocess nuclear waste. The environmental impacts were studied, and in the middle '70s, the Government released the GESMO - Generic Environmental Statement on Mixed Oxide. However, the anti-nukes had also been busy; they got the Congress to pass a law to OUTLAW reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. This was said by Dr. Gregory Greenman who is a Physicist. I believe that nuclear fuel is wasteful if it can’t be reused; however, there are opinions that can help construct the use of nuclear fuel to not be wasteful. ( [KSta1]
  • Yes - Most of the gas we use is for heating and hot water and for industrial purposes. Nuclear power cannot replace that energy. And it's a similar case for oil as it's virtually all used for transport - nuclear power can't take its place. Indeed, 86 per cent of our oil and gas consumption is for purposes other than producing electricity. So nuclear power, which can only generate electricity, is almost irrelevant. If it is true that nuclear power can only generate electricity then anther source of energy would be more useful I believe. ( [KSta1]
  • Currently in the US more than two thousand cancer victims are suing the nuclear plant of Hanford. Since 1944 the plant has discharged into the atmosphere a million Curie of Iodine 131, which carried by the wind has contaminated around 120,000 square kilometres of land and more than 2 million people. ( [PBol1]
  • Various studies have demonstrated the increment of cancer in populations living near nuclear plants, as does the work of Dr. Jay Gould, director of the Radiation Public Health Project (RPHP). Analysing the data collected over 50 years in more than 3,000 American counties by the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Gould has demonstrated, for example, that women who live in nuclear zones are at greater risk of death by breast cancer, and that in men there is a considerable increase in cancer of the prostate and lung cancer. From analysis of these studies Dr. Gould has reasoned that in America alone there have been hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the normal routine operations of nuclear plants. ( [PBol1]
  • Numerous European and Japanese studies have evidenced the increase of leukaemia by 34% and of malignant cancer from 22% to 53% in children that live near nuclear plants in Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Japan. In Russia, besides Chernobyl, in the zones of Seversk (Tomsk-7), Mayak (Chelyabinsk-40), and Zheleznogorsk (Krasnoyarsk-26) more than 3 million people have been exposed to high level radiation and tumours have increased by 900%. ( [PBol1]
  • In a village near Mayak, Tatarskaya Karabolka, 80% of the population is affected by cancer. It is impossible to estimate even approximately how many people have died in the world because of the radiation caused by the nuclear power plants and their waste, and of how many have yet to die in the future. If we tried to count them they would surely be tens of millions. ( [PBol1]
its very dangerous. there are always risks to nuclear energy like a meltdown which is when the steam created from the fission gets to much pressure and the plant blows up.
2. The waste created by the nuclear energy is highly// toxic to humans the gamma rays coming off the radioactive objects is too great for any carbon based organism.
3. We don't know where to store the waste. this is a very controversial subject and we still don't where to store it.[JWOO1](

1) Nuclear power is more expensive than it is usually declared to be. And we can assume that it will become even more expensive due to the costs of the nuclear fuel cycle, for example, the costs of disposal which will continue to escalate as they have over the last decades.
2) Atomic electricity, that is, electricity from nuclear power plants, is at least as expensive as the electricity from comparable sources of energy. For a long time, atomic power was supposedly preferable because it was not only cleaner, safer, etc., but also cheap. This is not true.
3) In terms of environmental impact, it has often been claimed -- and it is still claimed -- that atomic power is the solution to the global warming problem, the green house effect. This is not true, it's wrong, it's ideology and propaganda. On the contrary, other sources of electricity are considerably more effective in reducing the green house effect.
4) The most efficient method of supplying power, economically as well as ecologically, and in terms of social effects, is power that is not put to use, meaning an efficient power usage.( [KCRA8]

Every nuclear plant produces 10 metric tons of radioactive waste per year. Currently in the US there are 50,000 metric tons of radioactive fuel by now exhausted, 350 million litres of highly-active waste derived from the production of plutonium, scores of metric tons of plutonium, 500,000 metric tons of impoverished uranium, millions of cubic metres of contaminated utensils (fragments of metal, clothing, oils, solvents and other waste), and 25 million metric tons of waste from uranium grinding. Were that material to be loaded on a train its length would exceed the circumference of the equator. [DKho8]

Too Expensive
But let's start with the biggest problem with nuclear power: the cost.While no one knows what a new reactor will cost until one gets built, estimates for new construction continue to rise. Building a new plant could cost as much as $6,000 a kilowatt of generating capacity, up from estimates of about $4,000 a kilowatt just a year ago. FPL Group, of Juno Beach, Fla., estimates that two new reactors planned for southeast Florida would cost between $6 billion and $9 billion each.Part of the reason for the rising cost estimates is the small number of vendors able to supply critical reactor components, as well as a shortage of engineering and construction skills in the nuclear industry. Perhaps the biggest bottleneck is in the huge reactor vessels that contain a plant's radioactive core. Only one plant in the world is capable of forging the huge vessels in a single piece, and it can produce only a handful of the forgings a year. Though the plant intends to expand capacity in the next couple of years, and China has said it plans to begin making the forgings, this key component is expected to limit development for many years.The only way to make nuclear power economically competitive would be the imposition of steep "prices" on carbon-emitting power sources. Nobody knows precisely how high those prices would have to go -- there are too many variables to consider. But estimates range as high as $60 a ton of carbon dioxide. This imposes an unacceptably high price on consumers.More important, though, there are less-costly ways of weaning ourselves off these carbon-emitting energy sources. Even if a high price of carbon makes nuclear economic, the costs of renewable energy such as wind and solar power are cheaper, and getting cheaper all the time. By contrast, nuclear is more expensive, and getting more expensive all the time. [BBre8]
    • Although not much waste is produced, it is very, very dangerous.
      It must be sealed up and buried for many thousands of years to allow the radioactivity to die away.
      For all that time it must be kept safe from earthquakes, flooding, terrorists and everything else. This is difficult.
    • Nuclear power is reliable, but a lot of money has to be spent on safety - if it does go wrong, a nuclear accident can be a major disaster.
      People are increasingly concerned about this - in the 1990's nuclear power was the fastest-growing source of power in much of the world. In 2005 it was the second slowest-growing.[Jwoo1](

an article going into supreme detail on the issue of nuclear reliablility and safety-

Stacey Bravos sent me all of her info in an email,too, here it particular order.

The first nuclear reactor designed for producing electricity was put into operation in 1957 at Shippingsport, Pennsylvania. From l960 to l990, more than 100 nuclear power plants were built in the United States. These plants now generate about 20% of the nation's electric power. World-wide, there are over 400 nuclear power stations. ( ) [KCRA8 ]
The first man to split an atom was Ernest Rutheford, the man who some call the father of Nuclear Physics, in 1917. Nearly two decades later, in 1934, nuclear fission was first experimentally achieved by Enrico Fermi. [DKho8]

1930s- All nuclear reactors rely on nuclear fission, a process discovered in the . When certain heavy atoms are struck by a neutron, they absorb it, become unstable and split apart. This results in two lighter atoms, and two or three neutrons are ejected. The process releases large amounts of energy, much of it in the form of the kinetic energy of the fast-moving fission products. This energy is converted to heat as the fission products slow down. If the ejected neutrons hit other atoms nearby, those too can break apart, releasing further neutrons in a chain reaction. When enough neutrons produce further fissions--rather than escaping, bouncing off or being absorbed by atoms that do not split--the process becomes self-sustaining. ( [SBra7]
1934 � Enrico Fermi experimentally achieved nuclearfission showering Uranium with neutrons
1938- German chemists Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, withAustrian physicists Lise Mietner, and Otto Frisch experimentedon the product of neutron bombarded Uranium ( ) [KCRA8]
1954- the USSR 's Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant became the world's first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid , and produced around 5 megawatts of electric power. [DKho8]
1957-Four years before the United States began the commercial generation of electricity by nuclear fission , James Conant, who advised President Roosevelt on the atomic bomb, predicted that the world would eventually turn away from nuclear power because of problems with waste disposal. A few years later, in 1957, a panel of the National Academy of Sciences warned: "Unlike the disposal of any other type of waste, the hazard related to radioactive wastes is so great that no element of doubt should be allowed to exist regarding safety." ([[ )[SBra7]]]
There have been negative connotations with nuclear energies due to collective memory by the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. The power of those two images far exceeds what is warranted by the facts.[SBra7]
1960-In the United States, the first plant opened in Morris, Illinois ( [SBra7]
1970s- more than a hundred nuclear power plants were in operation in the United States.(,,):FQE%3D(SU,None,15)nuclear+fission$&inPS=true&searchType=BasicSearchForm&displaySubject=&docId=EJ3018200963&docType=GSRC ) [SBra7]
1979- At Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, due to a series of mistakes which seriously damaged the reactor, the reactor released radiation. This radiation was in such small amounts that the citizens of the Three Mils Island area would have recieved more radiation by taking a flight from New York to Miami. The protective barriers in the reactor's design worked.[SBra7]
1982-The safe disposal of high-level nuclear waste from power reactors has been a decades-long scientific and political problem in the United States. In an effort to resolve it, Congress inmandated permanent geological disposal, a policy consistent with the conventional wisdom on the subject. Since the 1982 mandate, the Energy Department has considered sites in Washington, Utah, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Nevada, the Great Lakes area, and the Appalachian range. ( [SBra7]
1987-After much political tugging and pulling, Congress had the list of nuclear waste sites be narrowed to one. Yucca Mountain, located on the Nuclear Test Site in Nevada, would be the only location evaluated for the repository. To date, the United States has spent more than $3 billion studying--or "characterizing"--the proposed Yucca Mountain site. If scientists eventually find it acceptable, and if it survives the legal and political battle that would follow its selection, sometime early in the next century the United States would become the first country to begin permanent geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel from nuclear reactors. ( [SBra7]
1986- In Chernobyl, Russia, a nuclear accident was very tragic. A gargantuan reactor lacked the safety technology, the procedures and the protective barriers considered normal else where in the world. This made serious human and environmental consequences. The cooler stopped cooling the core, and it got so hot that it eventually melted and led to a massive release of radiation through the open roof of the reactor. More than two dozen firemen died from direct radiation exposure. ( ) There were 56 direct deaths, an estimated 600,000 who suffered from radiation exposure, which may result in as many as 4,000 cancer deaths over the lifetime of those exposed, in addition to the approximately 100,000 fatal cancers to be expected due to all other causes in this population. ( )[SBra7]
2008- "WHEN LUNAR ASTRONAUTS flick on their televisions after a long day of prospecting, they'll have a trashcan-size nuclear reactor to thank for their nightly dose of prime time. NASA, looking past the already daunting task of simply getting humans to the moon by 2020, recently started considering proposals for ways to power lunar habitats. Batteries and fuel cells provide only short-term solutions. Solar power would be limited where a single night lasts as long as 354 hours. So space-agency officials have started making plans to go nuclear." ( ) [SBra7]

--Environmental impact of using nuclear fission--

Radioactive waste takes years to cool before it can be stored in underground repositories, which still don't exist. ( [SBra7]

--Economic costs of using nuclear fission--

Nuclear energy seems to be beneficial to our society. By using nuclear power plants, the United States has decreased its dependency on foreign-imported oil. In fact, the United States saves about 12 billion dollars each year through the lack of oil it imports from other nations. Nuclear energy has also proven to be a protector of the environment because of the lack of CO2, greenhouse gasses, and other gases it emits into the atmosphere.( [SBra7]

--Oposition to nuclear fission--

But along with its familiar woes--the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chornobyl, poor economics compared with fossil fuel plants, and the challenge of radioactive waste disposal--nuclear power is far from renewable. The readily available uranium fuel won't last much more than 50 years. ([Sbra7]
Nuclear fission can be used as an energy source in a process which includes uranium fuel. Uranium fuel is naturally found in the ground just as petroleum is. The fact that we will run out of readily available uranium fuel within the next century makes me scared. Using nuclear fission as an alternative energy source and switching it to the PRIMARY alternative energy source on which the world runs, would result in a similar situation to when petrolium suddenly became less abundant. The energy source would get far too pricey. [Sbra7]
There are, however, some major drawbacks to using nuclear energy. These drawbacks include the actual safety of using nuclear energy, the waste it produces, and the atomic weapons that nuclear energy promotes.( [SBra7]