For my unit project in my fuel class, I studied a source of energy and it’s pollutant. In my research paper I wrote about Uranium, my chosen energy source, and the pros and cons of the energy. The purpose of this assignment was to write a research paper, learn the set up of a paper, and prepare for more advanced studies. I am proud of the things I learned about Uranium and the extra research I did. I learned that this specific type of paper is very hard to write, and requires a lot of information and research, hence the name “Research Paper.”
In this paper, I will talk about an energy and its pollutant. The energy I was assigned is Uranium (Uranium is a relatively common metal, found in rocks and seawater), and a pollutant that comes from it is radioactive dust. I will discuss its pros and cons, and its relationship to the carbon footprint. A basic nuclear equation is 235U + 1 neutron = 2 neutrons + 92Sr + 140Xe + ENERGY. In that reaction, 1 neutron splits the atom. When the atom is split, 1 additional neutron is released.
Math and Carbon Footprint
Living on earth, we use many different types of energy. Some examples of these are gas, oil, electric, propane, and wood. The usage of all this energy and how much a person uses is called the carbon footprint. When using these resources, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) calculator, my own carbon footprint would be 20,852 lbs. CO2/year.
This relates to my pollutant because during the production of nuclear energy, Uranium is present and radioactive dust is emitted into the air. Uranium is related to some people’s carbon footprints, however not mine, because I don’t set off bombs.
Pros and cons of Uranium in the environment
It’s easy to come across cons in terms of the use of Uranium. For example, it is not reusable. During my search for the positive effects Uranium has on the environment, I came across something interesting. Uranium power is being looked at in a new way, according to an article written by Jim Thomas. Jim speaks about benefits of using Uranium. He explains, “The most obvious beneﬁt is the large reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in comparison to coal or natural gas ﬁred power plant.” Another fun fact I discovered is that it is also used as a shield against radiation, even though a byproduct of Uranium is radioactive dust.
In conclusion, I thought it was interesting that Uranium was being viewed in a new way, and different ways of using it were being discovered, however Uranium does not have a good impact on our environment. There are a lot more negative side effects than positive ones. For example, the radioactive dust emitted when mining for Uranium, and its negative impact on the plants and animals around the mines.
“International Isotopes Inc.” International Isotopes Idaho Inc Helping the Earth You and Millions of Others Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2013. https://www.intisoid.com