Difference between nuclear energy and geothermal energy pdf

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difference between nuclear energy and geothermal energy pdf

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As we look for ways to reduce our carbon , nuclear power is often raised as one potential solution. Nuclear power is created through a process called nuclear fission. It all starts with uranium — a silvery-grey metal refined from rocks or ore, and dug out of mines around the world. Nuclear fission harnesses the energy inside refined uranium by splitting its tiny, microscopic atoms. All from something the weight of a bag of sugar.

Nuclear power

Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power plant.

Nuclear power can be obtained from nuclear fission , nuclear decay and nuclear fusion reactions. Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium. Nuclear decay processes are used in niche applications such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators in some space probes such as Voyager 2. Generating electricity from fusion power remains at the focus of international research.

This article mostly deals with nuclear fission power for electricity generation. Nuclear power has one of the lowest levels of fatalities per unit of energy generated compared to other energy sources. Coal, petroleum, natural gas and hydroelectricity each have caused more fatalities per unit of energy due to air pollution and accidents. Accidents in nuclear power plants include the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union in , the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in , and the more contained Three Mile Island accident in the United States in There is a debate about nuclear power.

Proponents, such as the World Nuclear Association and Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy , contend that nuclear power is a safe, sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions. Nuclear power opponents , such as Greenpeace and NIRS , contend that nuclear power poses many threats to people and the environment.

In , physicist Ernest Rutherford discovered that when lithium atoms were "split" by protons from a proton accelerator, immense amounts of energy were released in accordance with the principle of mass—energy equivalence. However, he and other nuclear physics pioneers Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein believed harnessing the power of the atom for practical purposes anytime in the near future was unlikely.

Experiments bombarding uranium with neutrons led Fermi to believe he had created a new transuranic element , which was dubbed hesperium. In , German chemists Otto Hahn [16] and Fritz Strassmann , along with Austrian physicist Lise Meitner [17] and Meitner's nephew, Otto Robert Frisch , [18] conducted experiments with the products of neutron-bombarded uranium, as a means of further investigating Fermi's claims.

They determined that the relatively tiny neutron split the nucleus of the massive uranium atoms into two roughly equal pieces, contradicting Fermi. It led to the building of larger single-purpose production reactors , such as the X Pile , for the production of weapons-grade plutonium for use in the first nuclear weapons. The United States tested the first nuclear weapon in July , the Trinity test , with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki taking place one month later.

In August , the first widely distributed account of nuclear energy, the pocketbook The Atomic Age , was released. It discussed the peaceful future uses of nuclear energy and depicted a future where fossil fuels would go unused. Nobel laureate Glenn Seaborg , who later chaired the United States Atomic Energy Commission , is quoted as saying "there will be nuclear powered earth-to-moon shuttles, nuclear powered artificial hearts, plutonium heated swimming pools for SCUBA divers, and much more".

In the same month, with the end of the war, Seaborg and others would file hundreds of initially classified patents , [20] most notably Eugene Wigner and Alvin Weinberg 's Patent 2,,, on a conceptual light water reactor LWR that would later become the United States' primary reactor for naval propulsion and later take up the greatest share of the commercial fission-electric landscape.

The United Kingdom, Canada, [26] and the USSR proceeded to research and develop nuclear energy over the course of the late s and early s. This was followed by the Atomic Energy Act of which allowed rapid declassification of U. The first organization to develop nuclear power was the U. Navy , with the S1W reactor for the purpose of propelling submarines and aircraft carriers.

Navy fleet of nuclear-powered ships, standing at some 80 vessels as of On June 27, , the USSR 's Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant , based on what would become the foundation for the RBMK reactor design, became the world's first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid , producing around 5 megawatts of electric power.

The U. Army Nuclear Power Program formally commenced in It was derived from the Borax Boiling water reactor BWR design and it first achieved operational criticality and connection to the grid in For reasons unknown, in a technician removed a control rod about 22 inches farther than the prescribed 4 inches. This resulted in a steam explosion which killed the three crew members and caused a meltdown. The total global installed nuclear capacity initially rose relatively quickly, rising from less than 1 gigawatt GW in to GW in the late s, and GW in the late s.

Since the late s worldwide capacity has risen much more slowly, reaching GW in Between around and , more than 50 GW of capacity was under construction peaking at over GW in the late s and early s —in , around 25 GW of new capacity was planned.

More than two-thirds of all nuclear plants ordered after January were eventually cancelled. While considering the LWR, well suited at sea for the submarine and naval fleet, Weinberg did not show complete support for its use by utilities on land at the power output that they were interested in for supply scale reasons, and would request for a greater share of AEC research funding to evolve his team's demonstrated, [53] Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment , a design with greater inherent safety in this scenario and with that an envisioned greater economic growth potential in the market of large-scale civilian electricity generation.

Similar to the earlier BORAX reactor safety experiments, conducted by Argonne National Laboratory , [57] in Idaho National Laboratory began a test program focused on LWR reactors under various accident scenarios, with the aim of understanding the event progression and mitigating steps necessary to respond to a failure of one or more of the disparate systems, with much of the redundant back-up safety equipment and nuclear regulations drawing from these series of destructive testing investigations.

During the s and s rising economic costs related to extended construction times largely due to regulatory changes and pressure-group litigation [59] and falling fossil fuel prices made nuclear power plants then under construction less attractive.

In the s in the U. Some local opposition to nuclear power emerged in the U. The project was cancelled in the anti-nuclear success at Wyhl inspired opposition to nuclear power in other parts of Europe and North America. In the early s, the increased public hostility to nuclear power in the United States lead the United States Atomic Energy Commission and later the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to lengthen the license procurement process, tighten engineering regulations and increase the requirements for safety equipment.

Utility proposals in the U. S for nuclear generating stations, peaked at 52 in , fell to 12 in and have never recovered, [81] in large part due to the pressure-group litigation strategy, of launching lawsuits against each proposed U. S construction proposal, keeping private utilities tied up in court for years, one of which having reached the supreme court in Over reactor proposals in the United States were ultimately cancelled [83] and the construction of new reactors ground to a halt.

A cover story in the February 11, , issue of Forbes magazine commented on the overall failure of the U. According to some commentators, the accident at Three Mile Island TMI played a major part in the reduction in the number of new plant constructions in many other countries. Among American engineers, the cost increases from implementing the regulatory changes that resulted from the TMI accident were, when eventually finalized, only a few percent of total construction costs for new reactors, primarily relating to the prevention of safety systems from being turned off.

With the most significant engineering result of the TMI accident, the recognition that better operator training was needed and that the existing emergency core cooling system of PWRs worked better in a real-world emergency than members of the anti-nuclear movement had routinely claimed.

The already slowing rate of new construction along with the shutdown in the s of two existing demonstration nuclear power stations in the Tennessee Valley , United States, when they couldn't economically meet the NRC's new tightened standards, shifted electricity generation to coal-fired power plants.

President Jimmy Carter made a speech calling the energy crisis the " moral equivalent of war " and prominently supporting nuclear power. However, nuclear power could not compete with cheap oil and gas, particularly after public opposition and regulatory hurdles made new nuclear prohibitively expensive.

In The Brookings Institution , a public policy organization, stated that new nuclear units had not been built in the United States because of soft demand for electricity, the potential cost overruns on nuclear reactors due to regulatory issues and resulting construction delays. In , amongst a backdrop of ongoing protests directed at the construction of the first commercial scale breeder reactor in France, a later member of the Swiss Green Party fired five RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenades at the still under construction containment building of the Superphenix reactor.

Two grenades hit and caused minor damage to the reinforced concrete outer shell. It was the first time protests reached such heights. After examination of the superficial damage, the prototype fast breeder reactor started and operated for over a decade.

According to some commentators, the Chernobyl disaster played a major part in the reduction in the number of new plant constructions in many other countries: [67] Unlike the Three Mile Island accident the much more serious Chernobyl accident did not increase regulations or engineering changes affecting Western reactors; because the RBMK design, which lacks safety features such as "robust" containment buildings , was only used in the Soviet Union.

However, changes were made in both the RBMK reactors themselves use of a safer enrichment of uranium and in the control system preventing safety systems being disabled , amongst other things, to reduce the possibility of a similar accident.

An international organization to promote safety awareness and the professional development of operators in nuclear facilities, the World Association of Nuclear Operators WANO , was created as a direct outcome of the Chernobyl accident. The organization was created with the intent to share and grow the adoption of nuclear safety culture, technology and community, where before there was an atmosphere of cold war secrecy.

Numerous countries, including Austria , Sweden and Italy influenced by Chernobyl have voted in referendums to oppose or phase out nuclear power. In the early s, the nuclear industry was expecting a nuclear renaissance, an increase in the construction of new reactors, due to concerns about carbon dioxide emissions. In the MIT Energy Initiative study on the future of nuclear energy concluded that, together with the strong suggestion that government should financially support development and demonstration of new Generation IV nuclear technologies, for a worldwide renaissance to commence, a global standardization of regulations needs to take place, with a move towards serial manufacturing of standardized units akin to the other complex engineering field of aircraft and aviation.

At present it is common for each country to demand bespoke changes to the design to satisfy varying national regulatory bodies, often to the benefit of domestic engineering supply firms. The report goes on to note that the most cost-effective projects have been built with multiple up to six reactors per site using a standardized design, with the same component suppliers and construction crews working on each unit, in a continuous work flow.

This resulted in the most serious nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident prompted a re-examination of nuclear safety and nuclear energy policy in many countries [99] and raised questions among some commentators over the future of the renaissance.

Italian nuclear energy plans [] ended when Italy banned the generation, but not consumption, of nuclear electricity in a June referendum. In the International Energy Agency halved its prior estimate of new generating capacity to be built by This was caused primarily by the majority of Japanese reactors remaining offline that year and the permanent closure of eight reactors in Germany. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident sparked controversy about the importance of the accident and its effect on nuclear's future.

The crisis prompted countries with nuclear power to review the safety of their reactor fleet and reconsider the speed and scale of planned nuclear expansions.

In , German engineering giant Siemens said it would withdraw entirely from the nuclear industry in response to the Fukushima accident. The Associated Press and Reuters reported in the suggestion that the safety and survival of the younger Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant , the closest reactor facility to the epicenter and on the coast, demonstrate that it is possible for nuclear facilities to withstand the greatest natural disasters.

The Onagawa plant was also said to show that nuclear power can retain public trust, with the surviving residents of the town of Onagawa taking refuge in the gymnasium of the nuclear facility following the destruction of their town. Following an IAEA inspection in , the agency stated that "The structural elements of the [Onagawa] NPS nuclear power station were remarkably undamaged given the magnitude of ground motion experienced and the duration and size of this great earthquake".

In February , the U. Kharecha and Hansen estimated that "global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1. In August , following 4 years of near zero fission-electricity generation, Japan began restarting its nuclear reactors, after safety upgrades were completed , beginning with Sendai Nuclear Power Plant.

By , the IAEA's outlook for nuclear energy had become more promising. And the 72 reactors under construction at the start of last year were the most in 25 years. In , the BN sodium cooled fast reactor in Russia, began commercial electricity generation, while plans for a BN were initially conceived the future of the fast reactor program in Russia awaits the results from MBIR, an under construction multi-loop Generation research facility for testing the chemically more inert lead, lead- bismuth and gas coolants , it will similarly run on recycled MOX mixed uranium and plutonium oxide fuel.

In the manufacture program for the reactor commenced with the facility open to collaboration under the "International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycle", it has a construction schedule, that includes an operational start in As planned, it will be the world's most-powerful research reactor.

As of , some reactors have restarted commercial operation following inspections and upgrades with new regulations. Summer Nuclear Generating Station , in the U. In , the U. Energy Information Administration projected for its "base case" that world nuclear power generation would increase from 2, terawatt hours TWh in to 4, TWh in Most of the predicted increase was expected to be in Asia.

Zero-emission nuclear power is an important part of the climate change mitigation effort. The future of nuclear power varies greatly between countries, depending on government policies. Some countries, most notably, Germany, have adopted policies of nuclear power phase-out. At the same time, some Asian countries, such as China [] and India, [] have committed to rapid expansion of nuclear power.

In other countries, such as the United Kingdom [] and the United States, nuclear power is planned to be part of the energy mix together with renewable energy.

Nuclear power plant

Geothermal plants also differ in terms of the technology they use to convert the resource to electricity direct steam, flash, or binary and the type of cooling technology they use water-cooled and air-cooled. Environmental impacts will differ depending on the conversion and cooling technology used. Geothermal power plants can have impacts on both water quality and consumption. Hot water pumped from underground reservoirs often contains high levels of sulfur, salt, and other minerals. Most geothermal facilities have closed-loop water systems, in which extracted water is pumped directly back into the geothermal reservoir after it has been used for heat or electricity production. In such systems, the water is contained within steel well casings cemented to the surrounding rock [ 1 ].

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A consequent risk comparison between different energy sourceshas geothermal power plants have the lowest fossil fuel consumption: one to two orders of.

Types of renewable energy

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All energy sources have negative effects. But they differ enormously in size: as we will see, in all three aspects, fossil fuels are the dirtiest and most dangerous, while nuclear and modern renewable energy sources are vastly safer and cleaner. From the perspective of both human health and climate change, it matters less whether we transition to nuclear power or renewable energy, and more that we stop relying on fossil fuels. Two centuries ago we discovered how to use the energy from fossil fuels to make our work more productive.

Nuclear energy: how does it work, and how renewable is it?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy - The Source of Renewable Heat

Nuclear plants split atoms to heat water into steam. The steam turns a turbine to generate electricity. In most power plants, you need to spin a turbine to generate electricity. Coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear energy use their fuel to turn water into steam and use that steam to turn the turbine. The nuclear reactors currently operating in the United States are either boiling water reactors or pressurized water reactors.

A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is a nuclear reactor. As is typical of thermal power stations, heat is used to generate steam that drives a steam turbine connected to a generator that produces electricity. Nuclear plants are usually considered to be base load stations since fuel is a small part of the cost of production [3] and because they cannot be easily or quickly dispatched. Their operations, maintenance, and fuel costs are at the low end of the spectrum, making them suitable as base-load power suppliers. However, the cost of proper long term radioactive waste storage is uncertain. Electricity was generated by a nuclear reactor for the first time ever on September 3, , at the X Graphite Reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee , US which was the first nuclear power station to power a light bulb.

Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power can be obtained from nuclear fission , nuclear decay and nuclear fusion reactions. Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium. Nuclear decay processes are used in niche applications such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators in some space probes such as Voyager 2. Generating electricity from fusion power remains at the focus of international research.


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