Cribsheet #5: Nuclear Power

Basics / by Seed /

Nuclear Power 101: How it works, where it's used, and why it can be dangerous.

Scientific issues and innovations seem to creep into everyday conversation more than ever before. Recognizing that we could all use some expertise in hot science topics, Seed offers its Cribsheet.

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5

Nuclear Power

Now that the US—and the world, for that matter—has recognized its oil addiction, controversial, carbon-free nuclear fission is suddenly enjoying a comeback as a viable power source. Still, the threat of using nuclear technology for weapons looms in the background, as do the memories and visible after-effects of meltdowns such as Chernobyl. But, nuclear power’s time is now —like solar power, wind power and other alternative energy sources. This Cribsheet explains the process by which nuclear fission yields usable energy, from the reactor to the generator.

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Information design by Cybu Richli, Switzerland, www.cybu.ch; Writer: Josh Braun; Consultants: Per Peterson and Daniel Kammen, professors, nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley; Map Data: The Nuclear Energy Institute/The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Graph Data: IAEA

 

Originally published June 27, 2006

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