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Nuclear Waste

  • May 19, 2020 12:52 PM
    Message # 8979701
    Newenka DuMont (Administrator)

    Team CoolDown KCS from Mill Street Elementary School, Naperville

    Last modified: May 19, 2020 12:53 PM | Newenka DuMont (Administrator)
  • May 28, 2020 11:38 AM
    Reply # 8998358 on 8979701
    Kyle Burkybile

    Wow, what a topic. This is one of the most argued about issues among environmentalists and clean energy advocates. I loved your presentation and it really shows that you did your homework on the benefits, drawbacks, dangers, and mechanics of large scale nuclear energy reactors. I wish I had been as into these topics as you when I was in middle school. Including the interviews with 2 experts for your project really added another level of professionalism too, great job. 

    I agree that we need to put as many resources as we can into renewable energy generation like solar or wind. A couple of things to note though - 1) We need to be able to produce a lot of energy at all times, and renewable energy levels can change based on when the sun shines & wind blows 2) Even those technologies require mining of natural resources & they cause fossil fuel emissions from making the turbines or solar panels. Nuclear is a very efficient way to produce a lot of energy with very little emissions in terms of CO2. Here's a good chart that shows the CO2 footprint of different energy types that you may find interesting.

    Your other point on the safety concerns of nuclear are a big issue that also needs to be addressed. Even though nuclear energy has only had a few meltdowns of note, they have been very large global problems and nobody thinks they are the safest way to generate energy in 2020. Luckily, this is something that a lot of really smart people are working on to make sure that modern nuclear plants are smaller, more efficient, and do not have as many negative environmental impacts through nuclear waste or plant meltdowns that larger reactors do. You don't need to read the whole article below, but it's got a few things in there that show nuclear energy can be better than what it has been and we don't need to build those huge reactors that can cause major environmental problems.

    Great job again! 

  • May 29, 2020 4:35 PM
    Reply # 9001814 on 8979701
    Rowland Davis, Chicago member

    You did a great job on one of the hardest topics in climate change! I really liked the way you presented both the pros and cons, and backed them up with your expert interviews. Your slides were also well composed and included great visuals.

    With nuclear power, climate experts ask a few separate questions -- and they do not all agree on the answers! One question concerns whether existing nuclear reactors should be closed down as soon as possible, or be allowed to continue operating until they can be replaced by renewable energy sources. Because we still need to grow the renewable energy sector, some experts will argue that we should continue with existing nuclear plants because if they are closed now they might just be replaced with an energy plant that burns fossil fuels (BAD). Others think that the safety issues and waste issues are strong enough arguments to close existing nuclear plants.

    A separate question is whether we should build any new nuclear plants. Most seem to agree that building huge plants like the ones we now have is not a good idea. But scientists are always trying out new ideas, and some have developed smaller, modular nuclear reactors that they claim could be part of the climate solution! Stay tuned -- we don't know all the answers yet.

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