Importance of Nuclear Energy in Today’s World

Nuclear energy is one of the popular energy generation resources today, accepted as a viable alternative to fossil fuels like coal and gas. Nuclear energy is generated in nuclear power plants by bombarding radioactive elements like Uranium with neutrons, causing the release of massive amounts of energy and radiation. The energy released is used for various purposes, mainly as a source of electricity.

The popularity of nuclear energy is so much so that 20% of the electricity in US is supplied by nuclear energy. Apart from US, today more than 30 countries in the world harness and use nuclear energy. Uranium is used to generate nuclear energy and to obtain Uranium which is a non-renewable source mining has to be done.

Importance of Nuclear Energy in Today’s World

1. It is Eco-Friendly

Global warming, excessive carbon emissions and greenhouse effect are some of the growing environmental concerns today. Interestingly the root cause of all these concerns is the burning of fossil fuels like coal, wood, oil and gas. Unlike these sources of energy, nuclear energy doesn’t have any carbon emissions to make, thus making it a viable and eco-friendly source of energy. Many developed countries that are environmentally conscious are considering nuclear energy as a viable alternative for this reason.

2. No Pollutants

Nuclear energy not only avoids carbon emissions, it also avoids emissions of other harmful chemicals and smoke particles that pollute the atmosphere. On the contrary, burning of fossil fuels like coal and gas emit gases like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane and many other air pollutants that decrease the air quality and make air less breathable. The energy captured in nuclear power plants is directly converted into electricity and the white smoke coming out of the cooling towers in nuclear power plants is in fact just pure steam.

3. Efficient

Another reason why nuclear energy is becoming very important is because it is efficient and requires very less radioactive elements. To illustrate with an example, just 28 grams of uranium is sufficient to produce the same amount of energy that is obtained by burning 100 metric tons of coal. Apart from the mining and careful transportation of the radioactive material, and the initial investment to set up the power plant there is no other major requirement. Uranium is comparatively cheap and the nuclear power plants don’t occupy a lot of space as well. So the amount of resources used and the output received is very impressive, making nuclear energy a very efficient source of energy.

4. Reliable

Lastly, in times of energy crisis and constantly fluctuating prices of oil and gas, nuclear energy seems to be a reliable and sustainable source of energy. Nuclear power plants can run 24/7 and not depend on any natural conditions like sun or wind. In fact nuclear power plants 90% of the hours during a year, thus being a reliable source of uninterrupted energy.

Five Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Humanity’s dependency on energy resources are only increasing day by day and to make things worse, non-renewable sources of energy like oil and coal are depleting. Moreover, issues like global warming and increased carbon footprints have forced governments and industries to consider eco-friendly and renewable sources of energy like solar energy and wind energy.

Solar energy is harnessed from sun using solar panels. Solar panel installations are quite common these days and the extent of reliance on solar energy depends from place to place. Environmentally conscious and progressive residences and institutions are actively using solar energy in their day to day routine. However, the full scale implementation of solar energy as an alternative to oil, coal and other renewable sources of energy is yet to be realized.

In this article we will do an unbiased inspection of solar energy and list out 5 advantages and disadvantages of the same.

5 Advantages of Solar Energy

• Renewable – Solar energy is renewable, which means there is practically no end to its means and it is all up to us how we will harness this infinite source of energy.

• Eco-friendly – Solar energy is naturally obtained from sun and there is burning of fossil fuels or emission of carbon footprints which pollute the environment.

• Meets Energy Demands – The world is going through an energy crisis where underdeveloped nations are struggling to harness power and developed nations are fighting for control over oil. Solar energy can put an end to all of this by being an alternative source of energy.

• Lesser Maintenance Cost – Keeping the initial costs aside, solar energy in the long run will help us save a lot of money and maintenance costs. All it takes is the installation of solar panels wherever required.

• New Industry and New Jobs – With increased adoption and application of solar energy worldwide, the industry of solar energy is growing rapidly, providing jobs to a number of people.

5 Disadvantages of Solar Energy

• High Investment – One of the major drawbacks of solar energy is that it demands a lot of initial investment for the installation of solar panels, batteries, re-wiring, renovation of house etc.

• Unreliable – It is difficult to rely on solar energy in locations where sunlight is relatively less. Solar energy is also unreliable during rainy and winter seasons.

• Energy Storage Costs – Once solar energy is harnessed from the sun, it is important that it is stored for future usage. The storage of solar energy in batteries is an expensive deal when compared to conventional sources of energy.

• Space Requirement – Another limitation of harnessing solar energy is that you need a lot of space to install the solar panels which are essential to trap the sunlight and convert it into storable energy.

• Low Efficiency – Only 15 to 22% of the collected solar energy is converted into electrical energy. Thus a large number of solar panels are required to suffice the complete energy requirements of homes and institutions. This means it would be really difficult to run industries using solar energy where energy requirements are immense.

Everything You Need to Know About Wind Energy

The concept of using wind to generate energy is not new. All of us might have noticed wind mills once in a while but never put too much thought into it though. Wind energy is one of the renewable sources of energy that is being increasingly adopted these days, finding a wide array of applications. In this article we will discuss the basics of wind energy, i.e. the ways it is harnessed, its advantages and its various applications. Read on.

How is Wind Energy Generated?

The most basic and popular way of generating wind energy is by using wind turbines. The wind turbines are connected to large blades which move along with the wind, converting the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical or electrical energy. The energy generated can be used as mechanical power to operate pumps or grinding machines in agriculture. However, most of the times the energy obtained is converted into electrical energy by connecting the turbine to a generator. The electrical energy is either stored in batteries for small purposes or transmitted through electric cables as mass produce of electricity. Before it is transmitted, the electricity generated by the generator must go through a transformer in order to increase its voltage for long distance transmission.

Advantages of Wind Energy

Compared to energy resources like oil and coal, mechanical and electrical energy generated through wind energy has a number of advantages. Few of them are listed below.

1. Renewable – First and foremost, wind is a renewable source of energy that is absolutely free and available in abundance. In times of energy crisis where wars are happening for energy, wind energy seems like a viable option.

2. Eco-friendly – Unlike coal and gas which leave a lot of carbon footprint behind, wind energy doesn’t cause greenhouse effect and doesn’t release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. Hence it is a responsible and sustainable way of generating energy.

3. Less Space – Wind turbines don’t occupy a lot of space and the areas below them can be used for agriculture, grazing or any other purpose.

4. Easily Scalable – Wind turbines can be of different sizes and numbers, meaning they can be used for a wide array of purposes, be it industrial, agricultural or residential. Based on the energy requirement the size and scale of the wind turbines can be decided.

5. Best for Remote Areas – Wind turbines can be an excellent source of electricity in remote areas to where transmission of electricity is difficult and expensive. With a handful of wind turbines it is possible to generate enough electricity to keep that remote area or village self-sustainable.

Applications of Wind Energy

There are a number of applications of wind energy, although the most famous and relevant application is the generation of electricity to power homes and industry. Generation of electricity is done both for self-sustenance and commercial purposes. Apart from generation of electricity, wind energy is used to propel sailboats, run pumps to draw water from wells and underground water storages. Wind energy is also used to grind grains in flourmills instead of using electricity.

Advantages of Nuclear Energy You Must Know

There are many ways energy is generated, most popular ways being coal, oil, solar and wind energy. Another source of energy generation that is gaining a lot of importance and attention is nuclear energy. In this article we will briefly introduce you to nuclear energy, how it works and the benefits it offers to the world. Read on.

Nuclear Energy- How Does it Work?

In a nutshell, nuclear energy is generated when the nucleus of an atom is destroyed and the energy released during this phenomenon is captured. The destruction is normally done through fission i.e. breaking down the atoms rather than fusing them. Radioactive elements like Uranium are used to generate nuclear energy as a small amount of radioactive elements release an impressive amount of energy. To illustrate with an example, 28 grams of uranium produces the same amount of energy as burning 100 metric tons of coal.

Many Advantages of Nuclear Energy

1. Eco-friendly – Global warming and increasing greenhouse effect is causing a lot of environmental concerns and eco-friendly energy resources like solar energy and wind energy are widely considered today. Nuclear energy can be added to that list as it leaves no carbon footprint since there is no burning of fossil fuels involved.

2. Efficient – As mentioned above, only a small fraction of radioactive elements are sufficient to generate a lot of energy that is concentrated and immense. Thus only a small amount of fuel is needed to generate large amounts of energy. Given that the method is so effective and requires such little, the transportation costs are relatively low.

3. Relatively Less Expensive – In order to generate nuclear energy, nuclear reactors are needed and the initial investment to set this up is high. However, once the initial setup is done, the subsequent costs are relatively low. The cost of radioactive elements like Uranium are low, however they are available only in limited areas.

4. Reliable – Energy generation in a nuclear reactor is independent of environmental factors like sun or wind as in the case of solar energy and wind energy. Thus it is possible to generate nuclear energy 24/7 in a nuclear reactor. 90% of the time a year nuclear power plants generate electricity and this reduces the price volatility that is normally seen in other forms of energy like oil and natural gas.

5. Less Space – For generation of nuclear energy nuclear power plants don’t need a lot of space unlike solar energy panels or wind farms which occupy a lot of space. Thus it is easy to operate nuclear power reactors with far less special requirements. However, it must be noted that nuclear power plants require a lot of water for cooling and hence they are bound by geographical limitations i.e. only coast lines.

Though nuclear energy has a lot of advantages over fossil fuels like coal and gas, there are many concerns raised by environmentalists over radioactive spillage and other safety issues around nuclear power reactors.

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