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What are the cons for Nuclear Power Stations?

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March 11, 2009 12:05AM

The principle con, or problem with nuclear power plants in the US, is that there is no permanent solution to the spent fuel that is the result of operations. Spent fuel assemblies are about 12 feet long and about a foot square, made up of metal tubes which are about 1/2" in diameter. The actual fuel is in pellet form inside the tubes, about 1" long. It is extremely radioactive when it comes out of the core and must be stored under water to keep it cool for about 10 years. It decays rather quickly - relatively speaking - and can be removed from the water for air cooling after 10 years. It decays down to background radiation levels in about 600 years and it's a good idea to keep it locked up for at least a few hundred.

The federal government agreed in the 1970's to build a permanent storage facility and to have it operational by about the year 2000. That was supposed to be Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Harry Reid, the senator from Nevada, has opposed Yucca since he got into office and has done everything he can to block it's opening. As a result, all the nuclear sites in the US (something like 70 sites for 103 power plants) store their fuel inspent fuel pools or in above ground storage until a permanent solution is accepted.

The French have an extensive nuclear power program (80% of their electricity from nuclear power) and have been reprocessing their spent fuel for about 30 years. We were originally going to reprocess ours, but the program was cancelled by Jimmy Carter in the 70's in favor of long term storage.

The principle problem with nuclear power is political, not technical. What few understand is that Coal plants generate over 100 times the radioactive waste but this is not documented and published because it does not fit the image. Partly because of these concerns about radioactivity and the cost of containing it, the American public and electric utilities have preferred coal combustion as a power source. Today 52% of the capacity for generating electricity in the United States is fueled by coal, compared with 14.8% for nuclear energy. Although there are economic justifications for this preference, it is surprising for two reasons. First, coal combustion produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are suspected to cause climatic warming, and it is a source of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, which are harmful to human health and may be largely responsible for acid rain. Second, although not as well known, releases from coal combustion contain naturally occurring radioactive materials--mainly, uranium and thorium. that is a paragraph from this web site : http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html So the issue with Nuclear is what to with its radioactive waste the issue with coal is how to hide that it has radioactive waste

Related Questions

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there are pros and cons for using nuclear power (as with all power sources). pros of using nuclear power are: it can produce at lot more power than a combustion reaction can e.g burning coal, uranium and plutonium (used in the reactors of nuclear power stations) is fairly cheap. cons of using of using nuclear power include: the waste products of nuclear reactions are incredibly dangerous and take thousands of years to become un-reactive, nuclear power stations also have hefty maintenance requirements, cost a lot to build and don't last as long as more conventional power stations. So to address your question- people are divided over whether the pros of nuclear power outweigh the cons. it may be realistic to nuclear power, however it is very unlikely that it will be the world's main power source.

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Sizewell nuclear power stations was created in 1995.

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similarities and difference between nuclear power stations and coal-burning

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Fossil-fuel power stations, hydroelectric power stations and nuclear power stations.

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India has 19 nuclear power stations all together.

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Nuclear Power is used in power stations to produce electricity

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NO, nuclear power stations should not be built because if it leaks, many people can die

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Uranium is use as a nuclear fuel in the nuclear power stations.

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The Chashma Nuclear Power Complex and Karachi Nuclear Power Plant are in Pakistan.

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No, there are no nuclear power stations in Ireland.

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Fossil fuels are not used in nuclear power stations. Nuclear fuel is used (uranium)

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Most of the nuclear power stations use Uranium as a fuel.

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There are various pros and cons associated with a nuclear power plant. An advantage is that it can produce massive amounts of energy. A negative is that it can be dangerous.

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Nuclear bombs, power stations and at the centres of stars.

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1.7% of Pakistan electricity is produced by nuclear power stations

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By 'devices' do you mean nuclear weapons, or peaceful uses of nuclear power?

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Nuclear power stations only give out steam. Unless there's been an explosion, They give out radioactive dust.

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Ireland has many power stations, but no nuclear ones, which you may be referring to. There are risks associated with nuclear power stations and to date Ireland does not have one. Power in power stations is generated by peat, wind and water, amongst other things.

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as of 1st of January 2013, there are 437 nuclear power units worldwide

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Ontario Power Generation owns and operates the Pickering and Darlington Nuclear Power Stations

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Nuclear power stations collect nuclear energy, and produce heat energy and electrical energy.

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It is used for electricity in nuclear power plants == == Nuclear power is used to heat steam which then turns turbines, which generate electricity in nuclear power stations and also to provide propulsion and power on board nuclear submarines.

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Power stations produce electricity fronm nuclear power. Submarines and naval vessels produce propulsion power from the same source. Nuclear reactors tap nuclear power. So do nuclear weapons.