Nuclear power stations - Sample Essay

A nuclear power station is where nuclear energy is used to generate electricity. Some power plants run on coal, while others use oil, natural gas, or methane gas. In the furnace, the fuel is burned in a big furnace to release heat energy. In the boiler, heat from the furnace flows around pipes full of cold water. The heat boils the water and turns it into steam. This energy transfer is chemical to thermal (and light). The steam flows at a high-pressure around a turbine that’s similar to a windmill made of tightly packed metal blades. The blades start rotating as the steam flows by.

The steam turbine is a mechanism that converts the steam’s energy into kinetic energy. For the turbine to work efficiently, heat must penetrate it at a really high temperature and pressure and leave at as low a temperature and pressure as possible. In the cooling tower, steam is cooled in a condenser. Then it’s sprayed into the giant cooling towers. Most of the water condenses on the walls of the towers and drips/falls back down again. Only a small amount of the water used, escapes as steam from the towers, but large amounts of heat and energy are lost.

The turbine is linked to a generator, so the generator spins. As it spins, the generator uses the kinetic energy from the turbine to make electricity. This electricity travels out of the generator to a step up transformer. Electricity loses some of its energy as it travels down wire cables, but high-voltage electricity loses less energy than low-voltage electricity. So the electricity generated in the plant is stepped-up to a very high voltage as it leaves the power plant. A transformer increases voltage by having a low current, which decreases heat loss. So efficiency is increased.

They increase efficiency because fewer electrons can get through carrying more energy compared to more electrons, carrying less energy. This means there is less energy being wasted, as there is less resistance. After this, Pylons carry electricity at extremely high voltages, through overhead cables, to wherever it’s needed. Next comes the step down transformer; once the electricity gets to its destination, another transformer converts the electricity back to a lower voltage safe for homes to use. From here, the electricity flows through under ground cables to homes for use.

There are some problems that probably will occur when building nuclear power stations, which would affect the environment. Even after around 60 years ‘til this day, nuclear power is controversial. Some people believe it’s harming the environment and some believe it’s a brilliant idea. They are concerned about the radioactive fuel it needs. There are also some questions that need to be answered about the storage of radioactive waste produced through using nuclear power. Some of the waste remains dangerous for thousands of years and is currently stored in places such as deep caves and mines.

Many people living near nuclear power stations or waste storage depots are scared about nuclear accidents and radioactive leaks. But there are not only disadvantages. Nuclear power stations do not burn fossil fuels to produce electricity and therefore they do not produce damaging, polluting gases. Nuclear reactors can be manufactured small enough to power ships and submarines, If this was extended further than military vessels, the number of oil burning vessels would be reduced and therefore pollution.

There are also some problems that can be caused which would affect the economy. Storing and monitoring the radioactive waste material for thousands of years has a high cost. However, some advantages are; Countries such as France produce approximately 90 percent of their electricity from nuclear power and lead the world in nuclear power generating technology – proving that nuclear power is an economic alternative to fossil fuel power stations and although the first cost of building nuclear plants is high, the running costs are quite low.

There was once a Uranium leak in the south of France, which made people think twice about using Nuclear Power stations. “It is impossible that such a spill, containing uranium, does not have important consequences for the environment and for health. ” When people hear about the consequences concerning health, they tend to go against it as they would not want to put their own, especially their children’s lives at risk. If people are affected, this means doctors and pharmacists will have to provide medication and treatment, which would cost a lot of money.

There are both pros and cons of building nuclear power stations, concerning health, the environment and the economy. One usually leads to another, for example; when the environment is being damaged by radioactivity, people’s health is affected, which then leads to money being spent on medication and expensive treatments. Plus people normally would try to move as far away as possible away from the area with radioactivity causing inconvenience for a lot of people.

I think we should build more nuclear power stations because they generate good amounts of electricity, its one of the most effective ways of generating electricity… For example, this statistic for instance tells us that 1 nuclear power station produces the same amount of electricity as 1500 wind turbines. This shows that building nuclear power stations would be more preferable to wind farms as one power station would probably take up a less amount of of space yet produce just as much electricity as 1500 wind turbines alone. That’s why I think we should build more nuclear power stations.