Nuclear power plant use nuclear fission (the process of splitting an atom in two). Nuclear fusion (the process of combining atoms into one) has the potential to be safer energy because it is produced at a much lower temperature. Nuclear energy comes from uranium, a non-renewable resource that must be mined.
Facts about Nuclear Power Plant
- 13 percent of the world’s electricity comes from nuclear power plant that emit little to no greenhouse gases.
- Nuclear energy is being used in more than 30 countries around the world, and even powers Mars rovers.
- Nuclear power plant facilities can produce energy at a 91 percent efficiency rate 24/7 while maintaining the method with the lowest emissions.
- More than 70 percent of America’s emission-free power comes from nuclear energy sources.
- American nuclear energy facilities are the highest regulated plants in the world, subject to more scrutinous observations and regulations.
- The largest producers of nuclear power are the US, France, and Japan.
- Nuclear power plant accidents have occurred in Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986) and more recently in Fukushima (2011). The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster occurred following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
- The Calder Hall nuclear power station in the UK was the first to deliver commercial quantities of electricity (1956).
- The Sun creates energy through the nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium.
- South Africa developed complete nuclear weapons in the 1980s. However, it became the first country in the world to voluntarily destroy their weapon supply and to stop producing more weapons.
- Nuclear power plant themselves do not create carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, or nitrogen oxides, the mining, enrichment, and transportation of uranium generates harmful fossil fuel by-products.
- The world’s first nuclear power plant to create electricity for a power grid was USSR’s Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant, which opened on June 27, 1954.
- A nuclear power plant must shut down every 18-24 months to remove its used uranium fuel or radioactive waste.
- The largest radioactive waste storage pool in the U.S. is in North Carolina at the Shearon Harris nuclear plant.
- Just removing a person’s outer clothing can remove 90% of the radioactive material after a disaster.
- The most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated was Russia’s Tsar Bomba. It is also the single most physically powerful device ever created by man. The fireball reached nearly as high as the altitude of the release plan and was seen 620 miles from ground zero. The mushroom cloud was over 40 miles high and the base of the cloud was 25 miles wide. It was test-denotated on October 30, 1961, in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago.
- The most recent nuclear test was done by North Korea on May 25, 2009.
- The first nuclear weapon in the world was detonated as a test by the United States at the Trinity site on July 16, 1945. Considered the beginning of the Atomic Age, the denotation took place in New Mexico. The fireball was about 600 feet wide and generated power roughly equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT.
- A team from the Manhattan Project led by Enrico Fermi created the first self-sustaining or crucial nuclear reactor at the University of Chicago on December 2, 1942.