The fission reaction is carried out in the main unit of a nuclear power plant – a nuclear reactor. Nuclear fission is the decay of a heavy atomic nucleus (uranium, for example) into two or more light nuclei. It is accompanied by the emission of two or three neutrons and a large amount of energy (Kuteev & Goncharov, 2020). The sum of the masses of all formed fragments is slightly less than the initial mass. It is this lack of mass that translates into energy according to the well-known Einstein’s law.
There are two purposes for using a chemical reaction, nuclear reactors, and atomic bombs. In a closed environment, the released neutrons bombard other nuclei, causing a controlled chain reaction, which is used in a nuclear reactor. The same reaction but in an uncontrolled way is used for the explosion of atomic bombs. These are two major uses of nuclear fission.
One of the advantages of nuclear power plants is the reuse of fissile material. Uranium-235 does not completely burn out in nuclear fuel and can be used again after regeneration. In the future, a complete transition to a closed fuel cycle is possible, which means the almost complete absence of waste (Jenkins et al., 2018). Moreover, the intensive development of nuclear energy can be considered one of the means of combating global warming.
The major disadvantage of nuclear power plants is the risk of catastrophic accidents. It will take tens of years to eliminate the consequences of these accidents (Agyekum et al., 2020). The disadvantages of nuclear energy are not only that there is a threat of environmental pollution as a result of an accident, but also that even when operating in normal mode, nuclear power plants produce radioactive waste.
Personally, I support the use of nuclear power plants because of their environmental benefits compared to other energy sources. Current technologies of alternative energy are not advanced enough to produce a sufficient amount of energy to satisfy all human needs. Thus, nuclear power plants are a better solution in the energy sector of the world. Even though there is a risk of nuclear disaster, I believe that careful control of the power plant will eliminate the negative consequences.
Agyekum, E. B., Ansah, M. N. S., & Afornu, K. B. (2020). Nuclear energy for sustainable development: SWOT analysis on Ghana’s nuclear agenda. Energy Reports, 6, 107-115.
Jenkins, J. D., Zhou, Z., Ponciroli, R., Vilim, R. B., Ganda, F., de Sisternes, F., & Botterud, A. (2018). The benefits of nuclear flexibility in power system operations with renewable energy. Applied energy, 222, 872-884.
Kuteev, B. V., & Goncharov, P. R. (2020). Fusion–fission hybrid systems: Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Fusion Science and Technology, 76(7), 836-847.