72 Focus on Nuclear Energy
Focus on Nuclear Energy
“Cooling towers” by US Department of State is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
When nuclear energy came into the mainstream in the 1950’s, it was envisioned, by then chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Lewis L Strauss, to be such a cheap and powerful source of energy that “our children would enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter.” While some countries like France have since adopted and developed ‘nuclear’ as the primary source of energy for electricity generation, in most countries the development of nuclear power has slowed considerably. While the energy potential might remain, accidents and other complications have led to considerable costs and political opposition to the development of nuclear power programs.
Refer to the information discussed in the previous Focus section as well as Part XIV of this text and elaborate on the following focus boxes, solving any problems that appear. While learning the basics of balanced nuclear reactions and radioactivity, make note of important distinctions between nuclear and other types of fuels in meeting our energy demands. In order to determine the best route to meeting our future energy needs, one must understand the benefits and challenges of the processes that are currently in use.