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Atomic energy is the energy released during the transformation of atomic nuclei. The source of atomic energy is the internal energy of the atomic nucleus.
A more accurate name for atomic energy is nuclear energy. There are two ways to obtain nuclear energy:
- implementation of a nuclear chain reaction of fission of heavy nuclei;
- implementation of a thermonuclear reaction for the synthesis of light nuclei.
Atomic Energy Myths
The world's uranium reserves are running out. Even a child knows about the depletion of natural resources in our time. Indeed, many mineral resources are rapidly depleting. Uranium reserves are currently assessed as “relatively limited,” but this is not so small. By comparison, there is as much uranium as tin and 600 times more than gold. According to preliminary estimates of scientists, the reserves of this radioactive metal should be enough for mankind for the next 500 years. In addition, modern reactors can use thorium as a fuel, and its world reserves, in turn, exceed those of uranium by 3 times.
Nuclear energy has an extremely negative impact on the environment. Representatives of various anti-nuclear campaigns often claim that nuclear energy contains "latent emissions" of gases that have a negative impact on the environment. But according to all modern information and calculations, nuclear energy, even in comparison with solar or hydropower, which are considered almost environmentally friendly, contains a fairly low level of carbon.
Wind and wave energy are much less harmful from an environmental point of view. In reality, wind farms are being built or have already been built on the most important coastal sites, and the construction itself is already definitely polluting the environment. And the construction of wave stations is still experimental, and its impact on the environment is not known for sure, so it is difficult to call them much more environmentally sustainable in comparison with nuclear energy.
In the territory where nuclear reactors are located, the level of leukemia is higher. The level of leukemia among children in the vicinity of nuclear power plants is not higher than, for example, in areas near so-called organic farms. The territory of the spread of this disease can cover both the territory around the nuclear power plant and the national park, the degree of danger is absolutely the same.
Nuclear reactors generate too much waste. In fact, nuclear energy generates minimal amounts of waste, contrary to the claims of environmentalists. The earth is not at all filled with radioactive waste. Modern technologies for the production of atomic energy will make it possible to minimize the share of the total amount of radioactive waste over the next 20-40 years.
Nuclear energy contributes to the proliferation of weapons throughout the world. The increase in the number of nuclear power plants will lead precisely to a reduction in the proliferation of weapons. Nuclear warheads produce very good quality reactor fuel, and reactor warheads produce about 15% of the world's nuclear fuel. The growing demand for reactor fuel is expected to "distract" such warheads from potential terrorists.
Terrorists choose nuclear reactors as targets. After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, a number of scientific studies were carried out to determine the likelihood of an attack on nuclear facilities. However, the latest British research has shown that nuclear power plants are quite capable of "withstanding" even a Boeing 767-400 raid. The new generation of nuclear reactors will be designed with an enhanced level of protection against potential attacks from all existing aircraft, and it is also planned to introduce special security functions that can be activated without human intervention or computer control.
Nuclear power is very expensive. Controversial statement. According to the British Department of Trade and Industry, the cost of generating electricity from nuclear power plants is only higher than the price of gas, and 10 to 20 times less than the energy produced by onshore wind farms. In addition, uranium accounts for 10% of the total cost of nuclear energy, and nuclear energy is not so subject to constant fluctuations in the price of fuels such as gas or oil.
Decommissioning a nuclear power plant is very expensive. This statement applies only to nuclear power plants built earlier. Many of the currently existing nuclear reactors were built without reckoning on their subsequent decommissioning. But when constructing new nuclear power plants, this moment will already be taken into account. However, the cost of decommissioning a nuclear power plant will be included in the cost of electricity that consumers pay for. Modern reactors are designed to operate for 40 years, and the cost of decommissioning them will be paid over this long period, and therefore will have little impact on the price of electricity.
The construction of a nuclear power plant takes too long. This is perhaps the most unmotivated of all anti-nuclear campaign claims. The construction of a nuclear power plant takes from 4 to 6 years, which is comparable to the construction time for "traditional" power plants. The modular structure of new nuclear power plants can somewhat speed up the process of building nuclear power plants.