Positive Effects of Nuclear Energy

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The positive effects of nuclear energy are that it is used for a great deal of the energy of many countries, and it is reasonably cost effective. Learn about the pollution caused by nuclear energy with help from a science teacher in this free video on nuclear energy.

Part of the Video Series: Physics & Electromagnetism
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Steve Jones and I'm going to tell you some of the positive effects of nuclear energy. Well if you look throughout Europe you will find that nuclear energy is fairly well used and the same as in the United States and in some countries up to 50% is produced by nuclear energy and in others as low as 5%. This depends on many things and obviously the advantages of nuclear power stations are that well for example you can build them in remote areas because of the low amount of fuel required annually. In fact the total amount of fuel used up is something like only 50 tons a year whereas if you are looking at coal in the coal fired power station you are talking about 100,000 tons or more. So there is a huge difference between train loads of coal coming into a power station and just one lorry load of uranium so there is big differences in that way. One of the major advantages that we talk about is pollution. The pollution from carbon dioxide from a nuclear power station of course is zero because it doesn't burn anything except uranium. It does produce some very nasty waste products but they are in small quantities comparatively and can be safely stored. This again, I'm not making any qualifications on that I am saying the quantities are comparatively small and hopefully they can be safely contained. Economic, is it economic? Well at first people said that nuclear energy was very economic, very cheap and so forth but in fact it turned out that it was not very much more economic than any other fuel but obviously a lot of this depends on the cost of other sources of fuel so for example when oil goes through the roof in terms of price then nuclear power stations look very good but when the oil price drops then the nuclear price looks pretty bad so lately while the oil price has been very high the value of power stations, nuclear power stations has been shown to be quite good, they are a reasonable cost whereas now that the price is dropping we will find that they are less so. So the positive effects of uranium and nuclear power is that basically providing economically it is viable it has some advantages for the environment as long as we can look after the waste products whereas other fossil fuels there is no solution to their problems of providing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which a coal fired power station produces masses of every year. So the positive effects of nuclear energy are quite obvious to see but you have to think really hard to work out whether they are true advantages or not.


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