Flashcards in P2 - Nuclear Power & Dangers from Radioactive Materials Deck (15)
What does Nuclear power use for fuel?
Nuclear power uses uranium as fuel.
What is the process nuclear power plants use to produce power?
- A nuclear power station uses nuclear fission to produce heat to make make steam, this is similar to a conventional power station.
- In Nuclear fission, the atoms in the nuclear fuel, (uranium) are split in two releasing lots of heat energy.
- Water is used as a coolant to take away the heat produced by the fission process, this heat is used to produce steam to drive a turbine and a generator.
What happens in nuclear fission?
In Nuclear fission, the atoms in the nuclear fuel, (uranium) are split in two releasing lots of heat energy.
What are some advantages of using nuclear Power?
- Nuclear Power stations can make lost of energy without releasing lots of CO2 into the atmosphere.
- Nuclear reactions release a lot more energy than chemical reactions, so it takes a lot less uranium to produce the same amount of power as a fossil fuel
- Uranium is available relatively cheap
- There is plenty of uranium in the ground, however it does still cost a lot of money to make it suitable as a nuclear fuel
.What are some disadvantages of using Nuclear Power?
- Nuclear power stations are expensive to build and maintain.
- It takes longer to start up nuclear power stations than fossil fuel power stations.
- Processing Uranium causes pollution
- There is a risk of a radioactive leak, which can result in a major catastrophe such as the Chernobyl disaster.
- Radioactive waste from nuclear power stations is very difficult to dispose of, or to reprocess.
- It is expensive to decommission
- Uranium will eventually run out, however it will last a long time.
How is nuclear fuel used to make nuclear weapons?
The used uranium fuel from nuclear power stations can be reprocessed, after this process there is more uranium and some plutonium remaining, the plutonium can be used to produce nuclear weapons, however the uranium can be used in nuclear power stations.
How are radioactive sources stored?
Radioactive sources are typically kept in a labelled lead box.
How do industrial nuclear workers protect themselves?
Industrial nuclear workers wear full protective suits to prevent tiny radioactive particles being inhaled, or lodging on the skin, or under fingernails etc.., an example of this is lead lined suits.
They can use remote controlled robot arms to carry tasks in highly radioactive areas.
Why do workers wear lead lined suits?
Lead lined suits and lead/concrete barriers and thick lead screens shield workers from gamma rays in highly radioactive areas, this also protects from alpha and beta because they are much less penetrating.
What is low level radiation and where is it found?
Most waste from nuclear power stations and hospitals is considered "low level", which means only slightly radioactive, it can be items such as paper, clothing, gloves, syringes...
How do you dispose of low level radioactive waste?
Low level radioactive waste is buried in landfill sites.
What is high level radiation?
High level waste is more dangerous, it is radioactive material that stays radioactive for tens of thousands of years at a time, so it has to be treated very carefully.
How is high level radiation disposed?
High level waste is often sealed into glass boxes which are then sealed in metal canisters, these are buried deep underground away from water supplies.
What are the key issues with disposing of high level waste?
It is difficult to find suitable places to bury high level waste, the site has to be geologically stable ( not prone to earthquakes etc...), without geologically stable land to store the radioactive waste in the movement of rocks could lead to the waste spilling into the soil, plants, rivers and potentially get into our water supply.
When finding a suitable location people who live nearby often object, it may be immoral to put people in potential danger, so it is often kept on site at nuclear power stations.
If terrorists get their hands on nuclear waste it can be very dangerous.