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Author Topic: Interesting topic for coursework?  (Read 2837 times)

Offline dolce

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Interesting topic for coursework?
« on: 12/07/2008 14:07:45 »
Hi,

I have to come up with an question for my GCSE physics coursework, such as "Is nuclear power the best alternative?", and provide arguments for and against, then conclude.

I was wondering whether anyone could think of an interesting subject for me to focus on?  ???

Thank you very much in advance  :D


 

blakestyger

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« Reply #1 on: 12/07/2008 18:45:46 »
Probably, the things to emphasise here are:

Yes, nuclear is perhaps the least polluting process, only waste is heat in the cooling water.

But, the danger is when there is an accident it is catastrophic (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl).

And, what do you do with the radioactive waste when it's spent as a fuel?
 

Online syhprum

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« Reply #2 on: 13/07/2008 08:59:42 »
Why is three mile reactor incident spoken of in the same breath as the Chernobyl catastrophe ?.
The worst effect of of the three mile island meltdown was to add to world pollution with CO2 by delaying the introduction of clean safe nuclear power by the hysterical over reaction to this incident.
Why is the possible leakage of radioactive waste considered a bigger worry than the damage to the environment caused by CO2 and the large release of radioactivity from coal burning power stations?.
 
 

lyner

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« Reply #3 on: 13/07/2008 13:31:13 »
I think that the long term risk is not from Chernobles etc. because they are detected and something is done about them. The problem would be as familiarity and common use of radioactive materials by irresponsible / cowboy operators would introduce low level radiation products into the environment. Very much on the lines of greenhouse gases but much less 'reversable'.
Reluctantly, however, I have to say that Nuclear may well be the least worst solution - apart from just cutting down on Energy use.
 

Online syhprum

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« Reply #4 on: 13/07/2008 22:41:23 »
At the turn of the century there was a very cavalier attitude to the use of Radium which would horrify us today but it seems to have caused no long term damage to the environment.
In the fifties there was much enthusiasm amongst the warmongering nations for exploding nuclear bombs but although this added quite a lot to the background radiation the worlds population continues to grow.
 

Offline Knute

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« Reply #5 on: 21/10/2008 15:56:35 »
A good question that is more specific is can nuclear waste be eliminated or drastically reduced. Problems like what happened at Chernoble are, for the most part, obsolete now because nuclear reactors are enclosed in a concrete dome that would prevent environmental contamination if the reactor melted down.
The biggest problem with nuclear power is the waste which has to be buryed in remote dry locations where it will decay for thousands of years before it is safe. The spent uranium is sometimes refined further and reused but I understand that this is often not the case.
Even with the waste nuclear is about the cleanest and efficient source of energy available today right next to hydroelectric power which has its limitations and cutbacks as well.
 

Online syhprum

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« Reply #6 on: 21/10/2008 17:21:22 »
Hydroelectric power is a big killer, vastly more people are killed by failing dams than have ever been killed by nuclear power station accidents.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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« Reply #7 on: 21/10/2008 20:39:39 »
I think the questionner gave this as an example of the type of question they needed. I think they wanted other good debating topics.
"Alternatively fueled cars would be more advanced if the oil industry had less influence."
"Technological advances will cause the downfall of mankind."
 

Offline JimBob

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« Reply #8 on: 22/10/2008 03:11:03 »
Probably, the things to emphasise here are:

Yes, nuclear is perhaps the least polluting process, ... (snip)

And, what do you do with the radioactive waste when it's spent as a fuel?

This is - IN THE LONG RUN - the most polluting fuel. Plutonium used in reactors has a half life of 88 and a small amount 24,100 years. (The later is for weapons grade Plutonium but it is found in any batch of plutonium. When pulled from a reactor, the fuel will glow red hot for days.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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« Reply #9 on: 22/10/2008 22:40:16 »
I'm going to glow red hot if someone doesn't realise what the thread is actually about.
 

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Interesting topic for coursework?
« Reply #9 on: 22/10/2008 22:40:16 »

 

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