Nuclear power

21.07.2021

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The splitting of the atom in the 1940s was, according to scientists, as important an invention as the taming of fire or the invention of the wheel: splitting the uranium atom produced huge amounts of energy that could be used - not only in war - but also to generate electricity. The discovery of nuclear power alone has revolutionised electricity generation, but it still has the potential to improve the lives of billions of people.

Nuclear power is a form of energy about which there are many opinions, but fewer facts. That's why we've put together some basic information about nuclear power and why it's worth considering when you're thinking about the source and future of your electricity. electricity contract when choosing.

Where does nuclear electricity come from?

Nuclear power is therefore derived from uranium and, more specifically, from the energy released by its fission. This energy in turn produces heat. Since splitting an atom is a chain reaction, this heat is released in large quantities. However, thermal energy is not considered to be very useful for electricity production in itself. So this heat is used to heat water in a slightly larger boiler.

By heating water, it is brought to the boil, which in turn produces water vapour. The water vapour in turn drives a turbine mounted above the boiler. The principle of operation is then the same as for hydroelectric power, i.e. the turbine rotates a magnet which, in accordance with the law of electromagnetism, generates an electric current. This electricity then finds its way through transformers and electricity grids into the homes of Finns. The damping that can be seen from the large chimneys of nuclear power plants is water vapour.

Advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power

After initial investment, nuclear power is a very reliable source of energy. As long as uranium is allowed to heat water, electricity can be generated from a nuclear power plant. Since nothing but water vapour comes out of the chimneys, nuclear power is completely carbon dioxide-free when producing electricity. Compared to fossil fuels, nuclear power has also caused relatively few injuries, although this is largely due to the fact that nuclear power is less than 100 years old.

The disadvantages of nuclear power are above all related to its waste. At present, nuclear power plants store their waste in temporary facilities on site, but this is the problem: they are temporary. At present, only Finland has plans for a permanent disposal site for nuclear waste. The reason for this is that Finland has old bedrock and is located in the middle of the continental plates, so nuclear waste can be left completely undisturbed in its cavity for a long time to come.

Another drawback of nuclear power is uranium, which is quite expensive both to mine domestically and to buy abroad. Almost all countries are also reluctant to sell their own uranium. Moreover, uranium is a finite resource, so nuclear power cannot be considered as a renewable energy source, even if it does not emit carbon dioxide.

The environmental impact of nuclear power

The environmental impact is a major deterrent to nuclear power. In the lifetimes of many, there have been two serious nuclear power plant accidents, the shadow of which still lingers to this day. The biggest problem with nuclear power is the waste it generates and its safe disposal, which has not yet been solved.

However, nuclear power is an environmentally friendly source of energy, as the only emissions it produces are water vapour. Uranium is not much needed either, as just one kilogram can provide enough electricity to power a Western household for up to 34 years. This is why nuclear power is nowadays a complementary source of energy to hydroelectric power, for example.

Nuclear power in Finland and future prospects for the sector

Once the problems of nuclear waste disposal are solved, nuclear power is guaranteed to have a bright future and the potential to become one of the largest energy sources. This would also soften attitudes towards nuclear power, which has also significantly slowed down the debate on nuclear power alone until the end of the 2010s. The climate of opinion has also damaged the plans for new reactors in Finland, which would produce more energy more efficiently and in greater quantities.

However, Finland has an excellent chance of obtaining significant amounts of electricity from nuclear power. If and when a safe final disposal site is completed, nuclear power plants can be operated safely. Support for nuclear power in Finland is also on the rise, as concerns about the environment, particularly in terms of energy production, are growing.

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