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Uses of Nuclear Power – Nuclear Transport (Ships,Submarines),Agriculture,Human Health,Electricity,Futuristic Applications

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List of uses of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Power has come under assault in the aftermath of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident with Nuclear becoming a four letter word.However Nuclear Energy cannot be ignored because its benefits are unique in some applications and cannot be substituted by any other means.Nuclear Power also cannot be replaced in the short term from its most widely used application of generating Electricity. Note Nuclear Power accounts for almost 15% of the Global Electricity and in some countries is the major source of energy.For example France which has 80% of its power coming from Nuclear Fission,its impossible to think of shutting down nuclear plants like Germany which gets around 20%. Note even for USA which has the largest installed base of nuclear reactors shutting down almost 100 GW of Nuclear Capacity is quite unthinkable. Besides Nuclear Energy has massive uses in medical and other applications.This cannot be substituted by other means at  all.For example its possible to replace Nuclear Electricity by other means like Solar,Wind even Coal and Gas though its costs will be astounding.But you can’t replace Nuclear Energy in Medical Applications like Scanning and X-Rays.Here is a list of the main uses of Nuclear Energy.

1) Nuclear Transport – There are a number of transport modes like Ships and Submarines which use Nuclear Based Propulsion.Note for the Military,Nuclear Submarines are of the most lethal weapons capable of staying under water for very long periods which diesel submarines are incapable of.

2) Medical Applications – Nuclear Energy finds wide applications in  Medical Science.Use of Nuclear Energy for X-Rays,Chemotherapy Treatments is widely known and accepted.

3) Space and Futuristic Applications – While this technology is still immature and not widely used,Fission Reactors for powering rockets and space vehicles is very useful as the energy generated by small mass is possible which is not possible by chemical energy means.Nuclear Fusion has been said to be the holy grail for generating almost infinite amounts of energy at low cost.R&D continues to be done to develop this and other forms of Nuclear Power like Breeder Reactors etc.

4) Food and Agriculture – Radioisotopes and radiation used in food and agriculture.Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) involves rearing large numbers of insects then irradiating them with gamma radiation before hatching, to sterilize them. The sterile males are then released in large numbers in the infested areas. When they mate with females, no offspring are produced. With repeated releases of sterilized males, the population of the insect pest in a given area is drastically reduced.

5) Electricity – This is the greatest use of Nuclear Power using Nuclear Fission.According to WNA “Sixteen countries depend on nuclear power for at least a quarter of their electricity.  France gets around three quarters of its power from nuclear energy, while Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia and Ukraine get one third or more.  Japan, Germany and Finland get more than a quarter of their power from nuclear energy, while in the USA one fifth is from nuclear. Among countries which do not host nuclear power plants, Italy gets about 10% of its power from nuclear, and Denmark about 8%.”

Advantages of Nuclear Power Plants

  1. Reliability – Nuclear Power is a highly reliable form of energy almost as good as other fossil fuel energy forms like coal,gas etc.Nuclear Power Plants except in drastic situations continue to run reliably for the whole day without any changes.
  2. Low Fuel Cost – Large amounts of Nuclear Energy can be produced from the fission on radioactive elements like uranium.The costs of nuclear fuel is relatively  very low compared to other energy sources like coal and gas.Also uranium prices currently are quite low making the nuclear electricity price even lower
  3. Low Electricity Cost – The Electricity produced from Nuclear Power is quite low at around 3-5c/Kwh making it very attractive to construct hydro plants.Nuclear  Plants also  have long lives of between 40-60 years which means that they are extremely profitable once constructed within reasonable costs
  4. No Greenhouse Gas Emissions/Air Pollution – Nuclear electricity does not produce any GHG emissions or cause air pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels unlike coal,oil or gas.This makes them very attractive as a source of cheap,non carbon dioxide producing electricity.
  5. High Load Factor – Nuclear Power Plants have very high load factors in excess of 80%.They can generate power almost 24/7 and only require shutdown for periodic maintanance
  6. Huge  Potential –Nuclear Energy Potential is almost infinite compared to the limited and peak features of other forms of  energy like Wind,Geothermal,Oil,Gas and others.Only Solar Energy can be said to have more potential.Note new technologies and fuels like fast breeder and thorium are still in the works which can increase the potential of Nuclear Power more

Abhishek Shah

6 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. myna


  2. Khaled

    whats the name of the writer ?

  3. Lisa

    I think that the study of the subject of Nuclear Power is fascinating. But in the wrong hands, it could kill us all.

  4. Ejeh Daniel

    More explanation of nucear energy

  5. Phoebe

    which country’s uses it the most

  6. subham

    thanks ,for good answer of uses of nuclear energy