While splitting the atom is most commonly thought of as creating a nuclear or atomic bomb, it is also the means to creating an alternative source of energy. When splitting the nuclei into smaller components, also known as splitting the atom, an enormous amount of energy is released and nuclear fission results. While there are many concerns and downsides related with nuclear fission, the benefit to society can be a great source of energy.
How Nuclear Fission Works
While the scientific explanation of nuclear fission is complicated for the non-scientist, suffice it to say that the splitting of the atom results in nuclei colliding, the impact of which creates heat. The heat can then be transferred through different channels to create useful energy to society. The most notable practical application of nuclear fission takes the shape of a nuclear power plant.
Supporting Nuclear Fission
The use of nuclear power is a much cheaper alternative to the most predominantly used source in oil and gas. Nuclear fission and enhancements in this type of technology allows countries to become less dependent on oil suppliers that can drive up prices on a whim. Additionally, supporters of nuclear fission state that it is a cleaner source of energy in that toxins are not released into the air.
Downsides of Nuclear Fission
Nuclear fission primarily utilizes uranium in its process for creating energy. As uranium is a rare element found on Earth, nuclear power is thought of as a non-renewable source of energy. Moreover, many environmental scientists claim that nuclear fission emits toxins into our soil and water. Additionally, nuclear power plants contain a large amount of radioactive waste when in use.
Future of Nuclear Fission
Scientists continually look toward the next breakthrough in nuclear fission to create a safer, cleaner and more efficient use of this type of energy. Still, it is argued by many in the scientific community that money would be better spent on developing other sources of alternative energy.
- Photo Credit nuclear power station 4 image by Vitezslav Halamka from Fotolia.com