Nuclear Energy. Power from the Atom by Troon Harrison Adams

By Troon Harrison Adams

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This raises issues for governments and citizens about economics and safety. S. Department of Energy launched a program called Generation IV. Nine countries are participating to develop new, safer types of reactors that produce power more cheaply. Next generation reactors might be gas cooled, water cooled, or fast spectrum. One design is the heliumcooled, Pebble Bed Modular Reactor that contains thousand of balls of uranium and graphite. Since these cannot melt, and degrade slowly, they are much safer than fuel rods.

Switching Sides? Since 1971, members of the environmental organization Greenpeace have campaigned against environmental issues including uranium mining, nuclear testing, and nuclear waste. Recently, Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore has changed his opinion on nuclear power. He points out that 600 coal-fired electrical plants produce 36 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Nuclear energy, he says “is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power.

Making the Change Nuclear plants can produce power efficiently, and people are realizing they do not contribute to global warming as much as fossil fuel-powered plants do. New Solutions No new plants have been built in the United States since 1995. Many existing ones will reach the end of their life span in the next 30 years. If nuclear power is going to help meet rising energy demands, new plant construction must take place. This raises issues for governments and citizens about economics and safety.

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