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Nuclear Energy

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Energy and the Environment is a six-volume set that examines the history, technology, science, and environmental and social implications (including issues of environmental justice) associated with the acquisition and production of energy. Designed to complement science curricula, each volume describes comprehensively one or more sources of energy and the technology needed to make it useful. The books emphasize the science on which such technology is based, the limitations of each technology, the environmental effects of its use, questions of availability and cost, and the way that government policies and energy markets interact.

Nuclear Energy is an objective discussion of commercial nuclear power, a hotly debated issue of worldwide significance for many decades and one of the most controversial power-generation technologies. The book covers not only the physics and technology of energy production, reactor design, and nuclear safety but also the relationship between commercial nuclear power and nuclear proliferation and the United States' attempts to resolve the problem of nuclear waste disposal. The book also features an exclusive interview with Harold Denton, the former director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, on the commercial nuclear industry.

The volume includes information on

the business of electricity production

nuclear energy and national policy

nuclear reactor designs

the physics of nuclear fission

a prehistory of nuclear power

reactor fuel

reactor safety

spent fuel

The book contains more than 40 color photographs and four-color line illustrations, sidebars, the Periodic Table of the Elements, achronology, a list of acronyms, a glossary, a detailed list of print and Internet resources, and an index. Energy and the Environment is essential for high school students, teachers, and general readers who wish to learn about the effects on society of large-scale energy production and consumption.

Energy and The Environment Set


Coal and Oil

Natural Gas and Hydrogen

Nuclear Energy

Solar and Geothermal Energy

Wind and Water

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816070855
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Series: Energy and the Environment Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xiv

1 A Prehistory of Nuclear Power 1

The First Heat Engines 2

Carnot and the Efficiency of Heat Engines 11

Radioactive Materials as Sources of Thermal Energy 14

Global Warming and Nuclear Power 18

2 The Physics of Nuclear Fission 23

Atomic Particles 23

Conservation Laws and Radioactive Processes 27

Atomic Fission 34

Fermi's Reactor 37

3 Reactor Fuel 43

Manufacturing Reactor Fuel 43

Inside the Reactor 50

Nuclear Weapon Proliferation 54

The International Atomic Energy Agency 58

4 Nuclear Reactor Designs 63

Boiling Water Reactors 64

Pressurized Water Reactors 69

The Accident at Chernobyl 72

CANDU Reactors 75

Future Reactor Designs 80

5 Reactor Safety 88

Radiation Effects 90

Independent Redundant Subsystems 95

Where Are the Fatalities? 96

Event Trees 101

6 Spent Fuel 106

The Composition and Characteristics of Spent Fuel 107

Managing Spent Fuel 109

Building for Eternity 115

Is Yucca Mountain Safe Enough? 122

Nonscientific Objections to the Yucca Mountain Site 125

7 The Business of Electricity Production 128

Utilities as Natural Monopolies 128

ISO New England 133

The Nature of Supply and Demand 135

Nuclear Power in the United States Today 142

8 Nuclear Energy and National Policy 146

Some Arguments for Nuclear Power 147

Some Arguments against Nuclear Power 150

Nuclear Power Policy in Germany 152

Nuclear Power Policy in the United States 156

Nuclear Power Policy in France 162

Conclusion 166

Afterword: An Interview with Harold Denton: On the U.S. Nuclear Power Industry 168

Periodic Table of the Elements 177

Chronology 179

List of Acronyms183

Glossary 184

Further Resources 188

Index 192

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