Should we begin to manufacture one of the most destructive and infamous substances on the face on the Earth once again? The engineers say yes, but the public says no. The United States stopped making this element with the ban on manufacturing nuclear weapons. But with the continuing problem with our ever diminishing energy sources, some want us to begin using more
nuclear energy and less energy from natural resources. This paper is going to discuss what plutonium is, the advantages and disadvantages of its use, and why we should think about restarting our production of this useful element. After the United States dropped \"Fat Man\" and \"Little Boy\" on Japan ending World War II, the ...view middle of the document...
QWe also need it to further our space exploration program. People need to understand the
advantages to using plutonium and that the disadvantages are not as catastrophic as they seem. With the turn of the century on its way, the reemergence of plutonium production will need to be a reality for us to continue our way of life.
In 1941, a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered something that would change our planet forever. The mans name, Glenn T. Seaborg, and what did he discover?, the element plutonium.(Background) Plutonium, or Pu #94 on the periodic table, is one of the most unstable elements on the earth. It is formed when Uranium 235, another highly unstable element, absorbs a neutron. Plutonium is a silvery-white metal that has a very high density of 19.816 g/cm3.(Background) It has been rarely found in the earths crust but the majority of the substance has to be produced in the cores of nuclear reactors.
Plutonium can be found fifteen different forms, or isotopes and their mass number can range from 232-246.(Plutonium) Radionuclide batteries used in pacemakers use Pu-238, while Pu-239 is used in reactors and for Nuclear weapons.(Plutonium) This paper will focus on the isotopes Pu-238 and Pu-239. Plutonium can be very advantageous for the United States. It can be used for several purposes. The three major advantages to using this element are for an energy source, power for nuclear propulsion in space exploration and thermo-electric generators in cardiac pacemakers.
The first use for plutonium, nuclear power, is obviously the most beneficial use. Plutonium 239 can be used to power nuclear reactors. The average nuclear reactor contains about 325 kilograms of plutonium within its uranium fuel.(Questions) This complements the uranium fission process. With the continually decreasing supply of coal and oil to power our nation, we need a substitute to complement our energy needs and right now the best replacement is that of nuclear energy.(Questions) At the moment there are one hundred and ten nuclear power plants in the United States and they produce one-fifth of the nations electricity. Nuclear energy has been proven to be the cheapest, safest, cleanest and probably the most efficient source of energy.(Questions)
Nuclear power plants do not use as much fuel as the plants burning coal and
oil. One ton of uranium produces more energy than several million tons of coal and plutonium can produce much more energy than uranium.(Core) Also the burning of coal and oil pollute our air and the last thing we need is more pollution to worsen the greenhouse effect. Nuclear power plants cannot contaminate the environment because they do not release any type of pollution.(Perspective) Plutonium can also be recycled by using a enrichment process. This will produce even more energy. Coal and oil can not be recycled. What is left by their uses is what has been contaminating our atmosphere since the 1800s. (NMI )
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