Production Of Plutonium Essay

2393 words - 10 pages

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 )
You might ask...

Other Essays Like Production of Plutonium

Nuclear War Essay

1741 words - 7 pages lives. Its production and its use were not lightly undertaken by this Government. But we knew that our enemies were on the search for it. We know now how close they were to finding it. And we knew the disaster, which would come to this Nation, and to all peace-loving nations, to all civilization, if they had found it first. The reason for dropping the bomb specifically on the city of Hiroshima was because it was home to one of their

Pros And Cons Of Storing Nuclear Waste At The Yucca Mountains

1150 words - 5 pages plutonium, allows isolation times to decrease significantly (as cited in Hansen, 2001). Since the finished product is safer, it can be securely stored closer to humans. The major drawback is the cost, with estimates saying, the process would cost $280 billion according to a 1999 Department of Energy study (as cited in Hansen, 2001). However, the increased energy production created by the process will subsidize the cost. The other problem

Physical and Environmental Effects of a Nuclear War

1363 words - 6 pages 40 times that of a fission reaction). For fusion to occur, though, an extremely high temperature and pressure must first be reached, and this is achieved by fission(splitting of the nucleus of an atom). The detonation of a fusion weapon begins with the detonation of a conventional explosive that sets off a fission reaction explosion. Plutonium and uranium are used to create fission. The atoms fused are those of the isotopes of hydrogen

Rewriting the Past

1968 words - 8 pages possibility for attack would include the acquisition of highly enriched uranium or plutonium for use in a crude nuclear device. This route is arguably the most feasible for terrorists, with the huge quantities of weapons-useable fissile material in Russia, as well as North Korea, Pakistan, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and other former Soviet states (Ferguson and Potter, 2004). In North Korea, violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

North Korea: an Argument to Jumpstart the Economic Engine

3021 words - 13 pages Bird 5       North Korea freezes its operation and construction of nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supervision North Korea agrees to provide all required information pertaining to all possible previous plutonium production North Korea agrees to complete dismantling of all it’s nuclear facilities under the supervision of IAEA The United States agrees to provide heavy fuel oil to replace electrical

Dropping the Atomic bomb on Japan

5263 words - 22 pages beaches of southern Japan and on March 1 or the following year 1,534,000 men would land on the beaches near Tokyo, poised and ready to fight [Nobile p.48]. this plan was not carried out, however, because on August 6, 1945 the B-29 “Enola Gay” dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki “to impress the Japanese with the fact that the United States was actually in production of the

Chernobyl Disater

3032 words - 13 pages , reactor 3 is considered fundamentally unsafe by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The plant is even less safe now that the people who are left to run it are poorly trained, badly paid, and demoralized. The accident recovery and clean-up operations have resulted in the production of very large quantities of radioactive wastes and contaminated equipment. Some of these radioactive wastes are buried in trenches or in containers isolated from the

Periodic Table

2732 words - 11 pages following publication of Mendeleev's periodic table, the gaps he identified were filled as chemists discovered additional naturally occurring elements. It is often stated that the last naturally occurring element to be discovered was francium (referred to by Mendeleev as eka-caesium) in 1939.However, plutonium, produced synthetically in 1940, was identified in trace quantities as a naturally occurring primordial element in 1971, and in 2011 it was

International Business

2883 words - 12 pages and shareholders lost some $3 billion. Whistle-blowing has resulted in terrible and even fatal endings. Two examples: in 1976, Karen Silkwood, a chemical technician at Keer-McGee plutonium fuels production plant in Crestcent, Oklahoma, paid with her life. She died mysteriously in a one-car automobile crash after bringing to light problems about falsifying quality control reports on nuclear fuel rods. More recently, in 1995, Dr. Jeffery Wigand, vice

The Separation Of Capital Ownership And Control

1577 words - 7 pages The argument of whether the separation of capital ownership and control is an efficient form of organization has constantly been a controversial issue. The criticism whether the controllers’ act is in the best interest of the owners’ wills never end as long as hired managers operate management. As the number of public companies has been increasing over the course of this century, meanwhile the American style of contact based corporation has

The Versatility And Flexibility Of OLED's

1014 words - 5 pages sensors on a single, one-square-millimeter chip. However, before developing, OLEDs have some cons despite all the pros. Although some OLEDs have a lifetime of about 46,000, like the red and green films, others, like blue, have really short lifetimes of about 14,000. Compared to LEDs, which have a general life of about 50,000 hours, makes the OLEDs require replacement more often. Production of OLEDs is also a small-scale experimental process right

Related Papers

The Atom Bomb Essay

1580 words - 7 pages failed, the precious plutonium would be scattered all across the countryside."(Szasz 26) Brigadier General Leslie R. Groves, the man the army placed in charge, was eventually persuaded. Hanford's plutonium production was increasing fast enough so that a test would cause little delay in time. They feared that if they dropped the untested plutonium bomb and it failed to work, "the enemy would find themselves owners of a 'gift' atomic

The Manhattan Project Essay

1440 words - 6 pages were doing. Even the officials on the War Production Board remained unaware of the bomb. As with everything, problems occurred during the development process. The plutonium needed for the bombs were in microscopic sizes, which was very difficult to handle. Plutonium’s properties were unknown, and scientists knew very little about uranium 235. After scientists studied and became familiar with plutonium and uranium 235, they were

Smuggling Of Nuclear Material Essay

1105 words - 5 pages smuggling of nuclear material¹s. With the Cold War being over, there is a huge stockpile of over 100 nuclear sites (See Appendix A). Russia, alone has an inventory of 1,300 tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU), and 165 tons of weapon usable plutonium. Such material is coming into high demand on the market. Terrorist, organized crime and countries with nuclear ambition, are high bid contenders for the material. The United States is also

The Atomic Bombing Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki

2398 words - 10 pages uranium would be used in the Hiroshima bomb “Little Boy”. “Little Boy” was a gun type nuclear weapon meaning its design called for a uranium bullet to be fired down a barrel into a uranium target causing a nuclear chain reaction, releasing huge amounts of energy. From these experiments came the discovery of reactor produced Plutonium. Italian physicist, Emilio Segrè, received the first sample of reactor produced plutonium from the oak ridge