by David Innis, James Fischer, Guy Burke, Zie Wauersmith


Nuclear energy is considered the most fuel efficient source known to man. Nuclear reactors are actually very easy to understand. The most important part of the reactor is the uranium-235. This is an isotope of the normal uranium atom. The process is called nuclear fission. In the core, many uranium-235 atoms are present. To start the reaction, a neutron is added. This neutron is absorbed by an atom and it off sets it. The atom then splits, releasing massive amounts of energy as heat. After it splits, it doubles the neutron so that two are present. Then these neutrons are absorbed and it starts a chain reaction. Water in the reactor cools the control rods that absorb the neutrons and heat and stops the chain reaction from going out of control. The water gets super heated and turns in into steam and the steam is sent through tubes that go to the turbines in the power plant. The steam turns the turbines and that turns the generator. The generator converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy which is pumped out to surrounding towns and houses.

The Nations first atomic power plant began generating electricity on Dec. 18 1957. The plant was opened by the Atomic Energy Commission as authorized by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. (Kirshon) However atomic submarines were used before the firsts plants were active. In 1954 the United States released the world's first nuclear powered sub (Clifton). It could go up to 30 knots, cost 55 million dollars and could circumnavigate the globe without going to the surface. The nuclear subs only needed a few pounds of enriched uranium to travel up to 60,000 miles.

The two most common types of reactors are boiling water reactors and pressurized water reactors. In the boiling water reactor, the heat from the reactor boils the water to make steam and the steam spins turbines. After the steam is used it is cooled back into water and used again. In the pressurized water reactor, the water is kept under pressure to keep it from boiling. Then it is pumped through thousands of tiny pipes and heat is produced. The heat from the pipes turns the water in a different chamber, the steam chamber, into steam. Like the other reactor, the steam turns turbines. It is cooled into water but is then pumped back into the steam chamber to be reheated. To prevent the water to become overheated there are control rods that can lowered into the water to absorb neutrons making the reaction have less heat.

The problem with nuclear reactors is that if they have a malfunction then nuclear waste will be leaked into the surrounding towns and can expand to hundreds of miles. Like the earthquake and the tsunami in Japan, the reactors can be destroyed and the waste and radiation leaks out. Also the incident in Chernobyl, there was a fire in the reactor that melted the core (Clifton). This affects everyone's health and can kill lots of people. Another bad thing is that the waste has to be handled properly. If not it can cause really bad problems for the environment.

As well as being very fuel efficient nuclear power is relatively cheep. Nuclear power costs 1.83 cents per kW-hour compared to oil at 3.18 cents, natural gas at 3.52 cents and coal at 2.07 cents per kW-hour. However, this is only the cost of running the plants it does not include the cost of constructing and maintaining them. The technology is expensive and it is estimated that about $300 billion has been spent on the nuclear power plants and an additional $58 billion on tearing them down. Also $6 billion has been spent on waste disposal. The nuclear waste, that is a byproduct of the power, is extremely radioactive and needs to be stored for hundreds or thousands of years until it has decayed enough to be at safe radioactive levels. The nuclear waste consists of 3% fission byproduct, 96% unused uranium, and 1% unused plutonium.

The United States is the world's largest producer of nuclear power. 30% of all nuclear power is generated in the US. There were 104 reactors generating power in 2009, probably more today. The first time dealing with atomic energy was when the bomb was invented. There have been many advance to nuclear energy in a lot of different ways. Trying to make it more efficient and harnessing the most energy.

Most people when they here of nuclear power, they think of big smoke stacks, radiation or other bad things. Most people don't know the process at which the energy is made. There are two types of nuclear processes that can be processed into energy. Fusion and Fission. Fusion is when you force two atoms together creating lots of energy. No one has ever used fusion before because it is very close to impossible. It takes much more energy to put into it than what you get out of it. The sun, however, is an example of nuclear fusion. But the sun is just a boss. Fission is what all reactors use nowadays. Fission is the process of splitting an atom. This is much easier and creates much more energy than it takes to put into it. People have claimed that they have done nuclear fusion, but in reality, it is near impossible. The only example is the sun, as I said before. But we can't get close enough to the sun to analyze and find out how to do it.

There are currently three nuclear power plants in Michigan. The Donald C. Cook Nuclear Power Plant, the Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant, and the Palesades Nuclear Power Plant. (Department of Environmental Quality)

Here are some interesting facts about Nuclear Power. One ton of Uranium (used to create nuclear power) creates more energy than several million tons of coal or several million barrels of oil, showing how much more productive it is. As of 2004, Nuclear Power provided 6.5% of the world's energy, and 15.7% of the world's electricity. The U.S, France, and Japan together accounted for 57% of all Nuclear generated electricity. Nuclear Energy accounts for 19% of the total electricity generated by the United States, which could power all of California, New York, and Texas, the three most populated states. (

Source Annotation

Brian, Marshall, and Robert Lamb. How Nuclear Power Works. Howstuffworks. Web. 10 May 2011.

Summary: This site has lots of information on nuclear power. It also has links to the same provider of information but different facts. It has information on Nuclear Power, Nuclear Fission, the heart of a reactor, inside a nuclear power plant, outside the power plant, Pros and Cons of nuclear power, catastrophes and reactor shutdown.
Assess: It is good information because it come from a science based organization called Discovery. This organization makes TV special about natures most wonderful things.
Reflect: I would use this source for all the information about nuclear power. This site has most of the info I need for research.

Cothran, Helen. Global Resources. Bonnie Szumski. 2003. Print.

Summary: This book provides good pros and cons. It also contains many statistics and specific information.
Assess: The book seems to be reliable, it has all of its sources sited.
Reflect: This would help show the controversy of nuclear power and also provide many facts.

Energy Resources: Nuclear Power. Energy Resources. Web. 11 May 2011.

Summary: This site has some pretty good information. It has an introduction about nuclear energy, how it works, more about it, advantages, disadvantages, and if it is renewable.
Assess: It is from a site that is about other energy sources and it has links to other energy like water or air. It seem like the information is reliable.
Reflect: I would use this site to back up anything that I had found on other sites. nei. web. May 10 2011.

Summary: There is a lot of information about almost everything to do with nuclear energy. It has how nuclear reactors work, types of reactors, waste, fuel, medical and scientific research, food, industrial applications and a lot of other stuff.
Assess: The Information comes from the NEI or nuclear energy institute and it seems like everything is correct. There are helpful links also.
Reflect: I would use this source for a lot of the information I need to get. Everything seems to be there.

Clifton, Daniel. Americas Century. Dorling Kindersly. London. Print. Clifton Daniel. 20th Century Day By Day. Dorling Kindersly. London. 2000. Print.
I am confused as to why you put Daniel Clifton when the editor in chief is actually John Kirshon... Can we clarify this, I added a new works cited entry about it.
Summary: These two books are very good if you want to know about the history of Nuclear power. There's not much about how it works or anything like that but it has good information. It showed news articles about what happened in America, and it was cool to get that point of view on things and see what people thought about Nuclear Power when it first surfaced. It had some good historical information.
Assess: These books are by DK or Dorling Kindersly. I've read books by them before and they are a well known resource. It was a good resource, and it showed news articles about what happened in America during the century. The index of this book seemed to be a little bit messed up though, because of the fact that I looked up certain topics having to do with Nuclear Energy and I would go to the page it was supposed to be on and nothing would be there. The same was true for multiple different key words.
Reflect: Not much that is valuable to our goal, but there is some interesting facts and some history is there. Of the articles I did manage to find, I got great information from, and very accurate history about Nuclear Power.

World-Nuclear. World Nuclear Association. Web. May 12 2011.

Summary: This website has a lot of information about nuclear power in the US. It has the policies and facts about the power itself
Assess: There are a lot of facts and it looks like it might not be real but you can tell it is a legit resource.
Reflect:Some of the site is hard to read because of all the facts but with the other I think i will be able to get a lot of stuff done

Nuclear Weapons. Oracle ThinkQuest. Web. 11 May 2011.

Summary: This site provides information on nuclear weapons. It has an intro on them, stuff on fission bombs, thermonuclear fusion bomb and the aftermath. It also has cartoons that show what happens. Check it out.
Assess: I have used this site before for a science project and I could everything right on it. It is a reliable source and it put together by college students.
Reflect: This would be used for stuff on nuclear weapons. Maybe some cool facts or something.

"Nuclear & Uranium." EIA. Web. May 11 2011.

Summary: This site has lots of different information all in one place.
Assess: It seems like good information. The have things from many different places.
Reflect: This site should provide good information to back what I'm saying.

"Search Results for 'nuclear power'." The Wilson Quarterly. Web. May 22 2011.

Summary: This website shows many different articles about the topic you search.
Assess: It appears to be good information but there are many sources.
Reflect: This site would be good for expressing different opinions on nuclear energy.

Andy Darvill. Web. Feb. 23, 2011.

Summary: This website provides great information that is organized extremely well and easy to use. It tells all about renewable energy and is easy to navigate. There is also a lot of information but not in an overwhelming way.
Assess: Very high quality information. Thorough but not too dense. Easy to understand language that is not too complicated.
Reflect: I could use this site for any type of renewable energy project I wanted to do. It has tons of information for all of the alternative energy sources, and that includes nuclear energy.

Department of Environmental Quality. Web. May 19, 2011.
Type in your search bar, wiki cannot link "/" for some reason.
Summary: This website is the official website of Michigan, and it has information on all things regarding Michigan, though this particular section is about environmental concerns. If you delve in even deeper you can find information about waste as well and extensive information about Michigan in general.
Assess: This is of course good information because it is sponsored by the State and it is a very official Website. This also makes it a little overwhelming to sift through every little bit of info that is on there.
Reflect: I only used this website for a couple facts regarding Nuclear Power Plants in Michigan specifically.

Nuclear Energy Facts. Web. May 23, 2011.
Summary: This website has lots of great information and articles regarding all types of renewable energy, and the economics that surround these energies. It gave me all the information I could possibly need and was extremely helpful.
Assess: This was great information. I looked at a helpful and well organized fact list which gave me great little facts to include in a final paragraph for the wiki. So it was a great find near the end of this project.
Reflect: All in all I am very happy to have found this website and it is a great and reliable source.

Reflections and Conclusions
I think nuclear power should be used in more places. The only down side is the waste and that might be fixable. The only lasting effect would also be the waste and in my view the radioactive materials can be buried under the ground so the radioactive waves can't affect people. It is almost an unlimited resource and it provides a lot of energy.

From my perspective, I think that nuclear power is a great way to get electricity without having emissions going into the atmosphere. It should be used in more places but they have to make sure that the surrounding area is safe, just in case. If we had enough nuclear reactors in the U.S., placed in the right spots, they could produce energy for everyone. What is even better is that the fuel that is used, the uranium-235, can be reprocessed and made into fuel again. This is extremely efficient and it actually works. You can't do that with any other energy!

Nuclear Power is a great source of energy, and though it has obvious downsides that could be potentially dangerous, there are always advancements being made and Nuclear Power gets safer every day as new research is conducted. The actual energy source is of course amazing, it produces an incredible amount of power with no harmful emissions. The waste must be disposed of in a safe manner of course but once problems like these have carefully shaped solutions Nuclear Power could be the leading source of power in the world. It is one of the best forms of alternative energy that I know about.

I believe that we should increase the use of nuclear power in the U.S.. Many other countries use nuclear power as a main source of energy and I think it would be good to follow in their footsteps. There are problems that go along with nuclear power and I think we definitely need to keep advancing the technology used, especially technology relating to the management of nuclear waste. If we started utilizing this resource it would also decrease pollution and help with global warming.


Nuclear Power Plant

nuclear reactor diagram
nuclear reactor diagram

external image nuclear-explosion.jpg
external image moz-screenshot.pngNuclear-Power-Plant.jpg
An overhead view of a nuclear power plant.

This is a very good video explaining nuclear reactors.

Here is another easy to understand video describing the process of how a Nuclear Power Plant works.

Works Cited

Brian, Marshall, and Robert Lamb. How Nuclear Power Works. Howstuffworks. Web. May 10, 2011.

Cothran, Helen. Global Resources. Bonnie Szumski. 2003. Print.

"Nuclear & Uranium." EIA. Web. May 11 2011

"Search Results for 'nuclear power'." The Wilson Quarterly. Web. May 22 2011.

Energy Resources: Nuclear Power. Energy Resources. Web. May 11, 2011

Kirshon, John. America's Century. Dorling Kindersley. New York. 2000. Print.

Nuclear Weapons. Oracle ThinkQuest. Web. May 11, 2011 nei. web. May 10 2011.

Clifton Daniel. 20th Century Day By Day. Dorling Kindersly. London. 2000. Print.

Clifton, Daniel. Americas Century. Dorling Kindersly. London. Print.

World-Nuclear. World Nuclear Association. Web. May 12 2011.

Department of Environmental Quality. Web. May 19, 2011.

Nuclear Energy Facts. Web. May 23, 2011.