Nuclear fission refers to a process in nuclear chemistry and nuclear physics in which the nucleus of an atom (usually uranium-235 and plutonium-239) are split into several smaller parts, producing free neutrons and lighter elements. The splitting of the atom produces energy, which is why this process is used in nuclear reactors to create a large amount of energy.
The term “nuclear fission” also refers to the type of energy that’s created by nuclear reactors. It has gained the praise of many people because of the benefits it provides, but it also has drawn the ire of numerous detractors who point out its drawbacks. To learn more about the two sides of this argument, you first have to know about the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear fission.
List of Advantages of Nuclear Fission
1. It helps minimize environmental pollution.
One of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution is fossil fuels, which emit tons of carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals. These, in turn, can damage the environment and even harm the health of people. This isn’t the case with nuclear fission. Nuclear plants produce large amounts of nuclear fission energy while consuming only a relatively small amount of fossil fuel in their operation. This means they can provide heat, electricity, and power to consumers without producing lots of carbon dioxide emissions.
2. It helps reduce global warming.
If the world would switch to nuclear fission, there would be less greenhouse gases (e.g. carbon dioxide and methane) in the atmosphere. As a result, the greenhouse effect would be felt less and global warming would be stopped or at least reduced. This, in turn, can protect humans from the catastrophes that global warming would bring.
3. It can keep up with energy demands.
As mentioned above, nuclear plants can produce high amounts of nuclear fission energy. This can be a good thing in today’s modern times, wherein the demand for energy is steadily rising as more and more people drive cars, build houses, use electronic devices, and do other energy-intensive activities.
List of Disadvantages of Nuclear Fission
1. It can be dangerous for employees.
Radiation, which is one of the by-products of nuclear fission, can be harmful to people if they’re exposed to it at large amounts. Those who work in nuclear plants are invariably exposed to radiation every day, which puts them at a higher risk of developing illnesses.
2. It can be dangerous for communities.
Like any kind of process, nuclear fission creates waste by-products that have to be disposed in one way or another. If they’re improperly disposed, these materials won’t only pollute the environment but will also endanger the lives of the people who live near the disposal sites. Nuclear plants are also highly volatile; if an accident occurs, they can explode and affect the surrounding areas and communities.
3. It has high initial expenses.
Nuclear plants need specialized equipment and machinery before they can become fully functional and therefore require millions of dollars to be built. The plants also need to put safety measures in place to protect their workers and the surrounding areas, and these measures can cost a significant amount of money.
Nuclear fission has several advantages, but it’s clear that it also comes with many disadvantages. Because of this, scientists and other experts should find a way to harness its potential without exposing people and the environment to its drawbacks.
Crystal Lombardo has been a staff writer for Future of Working for five years. She is a proud veteran and mother. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our editor-in-chief a message here.