Energy resources: Nuclear energy
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Creator The Open University
Publisher The Open University
Course Earth's Physical Resources
To Earth's Physical Resources
Relates to course Earth's Physical Resources
Dataset OpenLearn
URL content-section-0
Locator content-section-0
Language en-gb
Published
  • 2011-06-02T09:00:00.000Z
  • 2011-06-02T15:30:00.000Z
  • 2013-12-05T18:59:08.000Z
  • 2016-03-02T11:02:48.000Z
  • 2016-03-07T12:34:02.000Z
  • 2016-03-16T15:03:07.000Z
  • 2016-03-22T15:47:00.000Z
  • 2016-03-22T16:33:24.000Z
License
  • Copyright © 2013 The Open University
  • Copyright © 2016 The Open University
  • Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University
Type
Label Energy resources: Nuclear energy
Title Energy resources: Nuclear energy
Description
  • <p>The transformation of radioactive uranium and, in some instances, thorium isotopes provides vastly more energy per unit mass of fuel than any other energy source, except nuclear fusion, and therein lies its greatest attraction.</p><p>The potential of nuclear fuels for energy production became a reality when the first experimental atomic pile, built by Enrico Fermi and L&#xE9;o Szil&#xE1;rd at the University of Chicago, began functioning in December 1942. That led to the manufacture of fissionable material for the first atomic weapons. The use of nuclear power for electricity production explanded rapidly in the 1960s, a period when the costs of building nuclear power stations and of purchasing the uranium fuel were thought to be less than for fossil fuel plants. The nuclear industry received a boost in the early 1970s, when fossil fuel prices rose abruptly during the oil crisis of 1974: following the Yom Kippur war of late 1973, oil producers in the Middle East quadrupled the price of their crude oil almost overnight.</p><p>During the 1980s, however, the costs of building nuclear power stations rose inexorably as stringent safety requirements grew, especially following the accident Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania (1979) and the much larger one at Chernobyl (1986) in the Ukraine. By the early 1990s the global rate of expansion of the nuclear industry had slowed almost to a standstill and fuel got cheaper as the power stations became more expansive.</p><p>Today, with growing concern about global warming, the environmental advantage of nuclear power over fossil fuels is becoming increasingly recognised: it produces no greenhouse gases. It also produces no acid rain, unlike coal and to a lesser extent oil.</p><p>This unit looks at nuclear reactions, reactors and power generation. It looks at the properties of uranium, how and where it is mined, and why nuclear waste is potentially a serious hazard and allows us to consider the advantages and limitations of the situation in which we find ourselves today.</p><p>This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Earth's physical resources: origin, use and environmental impact (S278) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in <span class="oucontent-linkwithtip"><a class="oucontent-hyperlink" href="http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/science/environmental-science/index.htm">this subject area</a></span>.</p>
  • <p>The transformation of radioactive uranium and, in some instances, thorium isotopes provides vastly more energy per unit mass of fuel than any other energy source, except nuclear fusion, and therein lies its greatest attraction.</p><p>The potential of nuclear fuels for energy production became a reality when the first experimental atomic pile, built by Enrico Fermi and L&#xE9;o Szil&#xE1;rd at the University of Chicago, began functioning in December 1942. That led to the manufacture of fissionable material for the first atomic weapons. The use of nuclear power for electricity production explanded rapidly in the 1960s, a period when the costs of building nuclear power stations and of purchasing the uranium fuel were thought to be less than for fossil fuel plants. The nuclear industry received a boost in the early 1970s, when fossil fuel prices rose abruptly during the oil crisis of 1974: following the Yom Kippur war of late 1973, oil producers in the Middle East quadrupled the price of their crude oil almost overnight.</p><p>During the 1980s, however, the costs of building nuclear power stations rose inexorably as stringent safety requirements grew, especially following the accident Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania (1979) and the much larger one at Chernobyl (1986) in the Ukraine. By the early 1990s the global rate of expansion of the nuclear industry had slowed almost to a standstill and fuel got cheaper as the power stations became more expansive.</p><p>Today, with growing concern about global warming, the environmental advantage of nuclear power over fossil fuels is becoming increasingly recognised: it produces no greenhouse gases. It also produces no acid rain, unlike coal and to a lesser extent oil.</p><p>This course looks at nuclear reactions, reactors and power generation. It looks at the properties of uranium, how and where it is mined, and why nuclear waste is potentially a serious hazard and allows us to consider the advantages and limitations of the situation in which we find ourselves today.</p><p>This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 2 study in <span class="oucontent-linkwithtip"><a class="oucontent-hyperlink" href="http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/find/science?LKCAMPAIGN=ebook_&amp;MEDIA=ou">Science</a></span></p>
  • The transformation of radioactive uranium and, in some instances, thorium isotopes provides vastly more energy per unit mass of fuel than any other energy source, except nuclear fusion, and therein lies its greatest attraction. Energy resources: Nuclear energy is a free course that considers the advantages and limitations of generating this power and the environmental and security issues that the process raises.<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/science/environmental-science/energy-resources-nuclear-energy/content-section-0" /> First published on Thu, 02 Jun 2011 as <a href="http://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/science/environmental-science/energy-resources-nuclear-energy/content-section-0">Energy resources: Nuclear energy</a>. To find out more visit The Open University's <a href="http://www.open.edu/openlearn/ole-home-page">Openlearn</a> website. Creative-Commons 2011
  • The transformation of radioactive uranium and, in some instances, thorium isotopes provides vastly more energy per unit mass of fuel than any other energy source, except nuclear fusion, and therein lies its greatest attraction. The unit considers the advantages and limitations of generating this power and the environmental and security issues that the process raises.<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/science/environmental-science/energy-resources-nuclear-energy/content-section-0" /> First published on Thu, 02 Jun 2011 as <a href="http://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/science/environmental-science/energy-resources-nuclear-energy/content-section-0">Energy resources: Nuclear energy</a>. To find out more visit The Open University's <a href="http://www.open.edu/openlearn/ole-home-page">Openlearn</a> website. Creative-Commons 2011
  • The transformation of radioactive uranium and, in some instances, thorium isotopes provides vastly more energy per unit mass of fuel than any other energy source, except nuclear fusion, and therein lies its greatest attraction. Energy resources: Nuclear energy is a free course that considers the advantages and limitations of generating this power and the environmental and security issues that the process raises.<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/science/environmental-science/energy-resources-nuclear-energy/content-section-0" /> First published on Tue, 22 Mar 2016 as <a href="http://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/science/environmental-science/energy-resources-nuclear-energy/content-section-0">Energy resources: Nuclear energy</a>. To find out more visit The Open University's <a href="http://www.open.edu/openlearn/ole-home-page">Openlearn</a> website. Creative-Commons 2016