Chapter 1

An Introduction to Nuclear Power


Nuclear power is a controversial form of power generation based on the exploitation of nuclear reactions. Nuclear power plants do not emit carbon dioxide while generating electricity but they do produce radioactive waste that must be disposed of safely. Safety is also a crucial factor because an accident at a nuclear power station can release radioactive material into the environment and this will potentially have devastating consequences. Nuclear power grew out of the nuclear weapons programs of the early and mid-20th century and the technology saw its greatest growth between the beginning of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1980s. In 2013 nuclear power contributed around 11% of global electricity. ...

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