AS Geography: Energy Issues: Nuclear Power Case Studies and Information

Detailed notes on Nuclear energy in the UK, the nuclear debate, management of nuclear waste and case study of Fukushima nuclear disaster.

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Nuclear Power
Nuclear Power in the United Kingdom
The world's first nuclear power plant was located in Sellafield, Cumbria at its
Calder hall site.
In 2003, the UK government described nuclear power as an `unattractive
option'
In 2007, they took a U-turn, backing the nuclear power programme due to
increased pressure to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
All but one of the UK's power plants is to close by 2023 so there is a scheme
to build 10 new ones, costing £1.2 billion each
The Nuclear Debate
For Against
Low CO2 emissions compared to current VERY expensive ­ decommissioning
production methods alone costs £20bn to £25bn. This must
be completed after just 25 year of
operation.
Uranium is available in stable MEDCs Threat of terrorism
such as Australia whereas oil is sourced
mainly in the less stable Middle East.
There is a good spread of uranium to Threat of nuclear disasters ­ for which
prevent individual countries from the UK has a poor record.
monopolising
Supplies of uranium and plutonium Geological storage is expensive
should last for 1000 years
500g of plutonium produces the same The disaster at Chernobyl, Ukraine took
amount of power as a football stadium the lives of 31000 people immediately
full of coal and a further 15000 soon afterwards
Large potential for jobs
Management of nuclear waste: Sellafield, Cumbria
Britain's nuclear waste as well as waste from Europe is transported to
Sellafield by rail.
The plant separates reusable uranium and plutonium and then stores spent
fuel in lead-lined glass tubes
Suitable Sites for nuclear waste disposal
Feature Reason
Geologically stable Earthquakes may disturb storage and
could result in leakage
High unemployment Hundreds is not thousands of jobs are
available at each power plant. Also, areas
of high unemployment are more likely to

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Good transport infrastructure Transport must be as efficient and safe
as possible.
Low strength of local pressure groups Pressure groups can easily prevent the
establishment of disposal sites so this is
not desireable.…read more

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