Nuclear power engineering
Nuclear power engineering – an industry engaged in production and use of nuclear-power.
To obtain nuclear power is used chain reaction of uranium or plutonium isotope fissile. Nuclei broken into when hit by neutrons, herewith will emerge new neutrons and fission fragments, which own high kinetic energy. By the results of fragments collisions with other atoms, this kinetic energy rapidly transformed into heat.
Nuclear power engineering uses controlled reaction in nuclear reactors.
Nuclear power is produced at nuclear power plants, used at atomic ice-breakers, atomic submarines; USA conducted the program on creation of nuclear engine for the space ships, in addition undertook attempts to create nuclear engine for planes.
Industrial society progress leans on permanently growing level of production and consumption of different types of power.
As known, the basis of thermal and electrical power production lays the process of fossil energy resources burning – coal, oil and gas. But the basis of nuclear power engineering – uranium and plutonium atoms nuclei fission while absorbing neutrons.
Scale of extraction and consumption of fossil energy resources, metals, consumption of water and air, for the production of necessary power amount to humanity is huge, but reserves of resources, alas, limited. Particularly acute problem of rapid exhaustion of reserves of organic natural energy resources.
World energy resources reserves are estimated by the value 355 Q, where Q is the unit of thermal energy, equal 2,52*1017 kcal =36*109 ton of fuel oil equivalent /TFOE/, i.e. fuel with calorie content 7000 kcal/kg, so energy resources reserves are 12,8*1012 ton of fuel oil equivalent.
From this amount approximately 1/3, i.e. т.е. ~ 4,3*1012 ton of fuel oil equivalent could be retrieved using up-to-date technology, if the cost of fuel extraction is affordable. On the other hand, contemporary needs in power suppliers are 1,1*1010 ton of fuel oil equivalent/year, and grow at a rate 3-4% per year, i.e. doubles every 20 years.
It is easy to estimate that organic fossil resources, even if to take into account the probable deceleration of rates of growth of power consumption, will be significantly used up in our century.
Let’s note, opportunely, that at the burning of fossil coal and oil with sulfur content of about 2.5% annually produced 400 million tons of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, i.e. about 70 kg of hazardous substances for each inhabitant of the earth per year.
The use of power of atomic nucleus and development of atomic power engineering removes the acuity of this problem.
Actually, the discovery of fission of heavy nucleus while neutrons capture, made the XX-th century atomic, added substantial contribution of nuclear fuel to the fossil fuel reserves. Uranium reserves in the Earth crust estimated by the huge numeral - 1014 tons. However, the great bulk of this wealth stands in a scattered state – in granites, basalts. The amount of uranium in the great oceans reaches 4*109 tons. Nevertheless, the rich uranium deposits, where the extraction would be not expensive, known comparatively few. That’s why the great bulk of uranium resources, that could be obtained using modern technologies and at a reasonable price, estimated as 108 tons. The annual uranium requirements, according to current estimates, are 104 tons of natural uranium. So these reserves allow, as academician Aleksandrov A.P. said “put away Damoklov sword of fuel insufficiency practically to indefinite time”.
The other important problem of the modern industrial society is ensuring of safety of nature, purity of water, urban-industrial environment.
Well-known the anxiety of scientists about the "greenhouse effect" that arises due to carbon dioxide emissions while organic fuel burning and corresponding global warming on our planet. And the problem of gas contamination of the air basin, "acid" rains, and poisoned rivers approached in many regions to the critical line.
Atomic power engineering does not consume oxygen and has a negligible amount of emissions during normal operation. If atomic power engineering replace conventional, the threat of a "greenhouse effect" with serious environmental consequences of global warming will be eliminated.
An extremely important consideration is the fact that nuclear power engineering has proven cost-effectiveness in almost all the areas of the globe. In addition, even with large-scale of power generation at nuclear power plants, atomic power engineering will not cause much traffic problems, because it requires negligible transport costs, which frees the society from the burden of constant transport of huge quantities of organic fuels.