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Modern human civilization is inconceivable without the use of electricity. In the second half of the 20th century, the "peaceful" atom came to the service of mankind. However, as it turned out later, it is not so peaceful. The Chernobyl accident took place over 20 years ago, and we are still reaping its fruits.
And how many accidents there were, about which it is not so widely known, but which also caused death, illness ... Nevertheless, more and more countries are interested in the possibilities of nuclear energy, because such plants are relatively environmentally friendly and cheap.
They are especially in demand in countries where there are no rich natural resources. In France, Belgium, Sweden, from 20 to 50% of all energy is generated at nuclear power plants, in the USA - about 12%, but this is almost 20% of the total world production, in Ukraine - 50%.
Nuclear energy is associated mainly with the Chernobyl tragedy, while the positive aspects of the industry are also forgotten. There are many myths floating around the NPP, some of which will be considered.
Myths about nuclear power
The planet's uranium reserves are rapidly depleting. Nuclear power plants will soon be left without fuel. To support this myth, information from Greenpeace about the relative scarcity of uranium reserves is used. However, the wording is very evasive, the planet has about the same amount of uranium reserves as tin. The volume of natural reserves exceeds the reserves of gold by 600 times. Preliminary calculations of scientists give impressive results - uranium will last for another 500 years. What's next? Today, reactors can use thorium as fuel and convert it into uranium. And the reserves of thorium on Earth are 3 times greater than the reserves of uranium!
Nuclear energy is highly carbonaceous. Anti-nuclear companies, like environmentalists, claim that nuclear energy contains some kind of lurking gas emissions that adversely affect the environment. In fact, all modern calculations and information say that nuclear energy, even in comparison with hydropower and solar, contains a low level of carbon.
Nuclear power is still expensive. One tenth of the cost of nuclear energy is uranium, and it should be borne in mind that this energy is not so dependent on strong fluctuations in oil or gas prices. The British Department of Trade and Industry has calculated that the cost of electricity generated by nuclear power plants is higher only than the price of gas stations, and 10-20 times less than the price of wind farms.
There is too much radioactive waste from the reactors. However, despite this myth, countries with nuclear energy are not at all inundated with radioactive waste. Indeed, there are not so many of them. And in the next 20-40 years this problem will not arise acutely, although, of course, there is no need to think about it now.
Decommissioning a nuclear power plant is a rather expensive undertaking. Those reactors that were built a long time ago were not counted on for subsequent decommissioning. But in new reactors, this function is already enabled. Today, the cost of decommissioning a nuclear power plant is often included in the price of electricity generated by the plant. Taking into account the fact that the operation of the reactors is designed for 40 years, the entire amount is stretched over a rather long period, and in the end it turns out to be insignificant.
The construction of the reactor is a long-term project. This myth is being destroyed by the Canadian company AECL, which has built 6 new nuclear reactors since 1991. At the same time, the shortest-term construction cost was 4 years, and the longest - "as much" for 6.5 years. As you can see, with proper funding and design, the professionalism of the builders, the timing is not so scary.
On the territory of nuclear reactors, levels of leukemia are higher. Studies have shown that among children, the level of leukemia near nuclear power plants is no different from natural farms. The territory of the spread of this disease does not choose a place - it can be a nuclear power plant, maybe a national park, the degrees of danger are the same everywhere.
The proliferation of nuclear reactors is directly related to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Quite the contrary, increasing the number of such stations could limit the proliferation of weapons. For nuclear warheads, only the highest quality reactor fuel is required; such warheads account for about 15% of the world's nuclear potential. The increase in the number of stations will lead to an increase in demand for fuel, "distracting" it from being used for unsafe purposes by terrorists.
Wave energy and wind energy are more natural, environmentally friendly. It should be understood that the construction of such facilities in itself is already a significant factor in environmental pollution. The construction of wave stations is also in many respects an experimental direction, so it is difficult to call wind and wave stations more environmentally sustainable than nuclear ones.
Nuclear power plants are a tasty target for terrorists. The tragedy of September 11, 2001 entailed an increase in the security levels, primarily of nuclear power plants, the study of the possibilities of attacking them and confronting terrorists. However, the British have provided evidence that nuclear reactors are capable of withstanding being hit by a Boeing 767. The latest generations of reactors are being produced with even greater protection against potential attacks of all types of aircraft, and security features are also provided that can be activated without human or computer intervention.
Nuclear power plants are dangerous primarily due to radioactive contamination. During the operation of a nuclear power plant, not only the question of possible radiation pollution arises, but also other types of impact on nature. The main one is the thermal effect, which is 1.5-2 times higher for nuclear power plants than for thermal plants. The point is that the water vapor used must be cooled. The easiest way is to use nearby bodies of water. But the return of significantly heated water can lead to a deterioration in the ecological situation, disturbances in the ecosystem. And a huge amount of water vapor and droplet moisture is emitted into the atmosphere. Advanced technologies for air cooling of water vapor, although harmless, are much more expensive.