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Non-renewable energy

Radiation symbol

Nuclear Fission

Current nuclear power stations use the process of
Nuclear Fission to generate power.

Nuclear fission is an ethical issue because it has the potential to be very dangerous. Where accidents have occurred, the consequences have been severe. Supporters believe fission can be made safe, while those against it believe the risks and costs are too great and not worth the benefits.

Sizewell A and B

Nuclear power stations Sizewell A and Sizewell B, in Suffolk. Click to enlarge

About to close down...

There are currently 10 nuclear fission power stations in the UK. In 2005 they produced about 20% of our electricity. Many of these power stations are old and due to reach the end of their useful lives soon and will be closed down. As a result, planners need to decide whether to invest in new nuclear power stations or other forms of energy instead. 

Climate change and energy security

In 2003, the UK Government called for huge reductions in CO2 emissions, a large boost for renewable energy and ruled out future nuclear power stations. Only four years later, the same government announced that nuclear power stations will be built, as this is the only practical answer to Britain's energy needs.

What changed? Read this article and decide for yourself

Next: Advantages of nuclear power


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NOT RATED Wazza 08-06-11 08:29
Yeah power stations are dangerous
NOT RATED Davie Seagull 30-10-12 09:52

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Do no harm

Scientists working in the nuclear industry have an enormous responsibility not to make mistakes that could cause safety issues. After all, the main difference between nuclear fission power and a nuclear bomb is only whether a nuclear chain reaction is controlled or allowed to explode.
Future generationsText equivalent:

Future generations

Nuclear fission produces highly radioactive waste, which will remain very dangerous for centuries. Should we be producing something that could cause danger for many generations to come?
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Control of technology

Nuclear fission can be used to generate electricity but also to create the explosive parts of nuclear bombs. Should those who have nuclear technology try to stop other countries from getting it, to avoid the spread of nuclear weapons?





Teacher icon  IOP - Inside The Atom
pages 10-11

Renewable or not?

Some think nuclear fission is a form of renewable energy. But it still consumes a resource - Uranium ore. There is only so much of this in the ground, so technically it is non-renewable. A 2003 study by MIT claims that there is only enough usable uranium ore to power 1000 reactors for 40 years.

This article discusses the pros and cons of different types of nuclear reactor that try to address this problem.