The Overall Impact Of Nuclear Energy

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The use of nuclear energy has continued to grow over the years despite all of the divided opinions across the globe. Nuclear energy technology started making advances after the discovery of the atom, a feat credited to the Greeks and the follow up work of scientists who furthered this research in the 18th and 19th century, as they were able to build on the idea having concluded that atoms had large quantities of energy in them. Renewed interest in nuclear energy would pick up again during the Second World War, at a time when research on nuclear materials mainly focused on the development of defense weapons.

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This would be followed by more vigorous research whose main purpose was to find peaceful applications of nuclear technology, such as the production of electricity.  By 1934, the discovery of nuclear fission technology had been made, and by 1942, the first project that focused on the development of the first nuclear reactor was initiated (None, 2015).  After the war, the United States government embraced the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  The United States Congress, in 1946, created the Atomic Energy Commission, which authorized the construction of the Experimental Breeder Reactor 1, which in December of 1951 became the first nuclear reactor to generate electricity (None, 2015).  Nuclear energy has been used to produce electricity among other utilities and with it has come political, economic, environmental and even social consequences.

To understand the overall impact of nuclear energy as a source of electricity, we have to look back at the history of the generation of electricity. It has been a result of numerous collaborative efforts coupled with a lot of technological changes to get to where we are today. The first electric generators were galvanic cells, and they generated what was known as direct electrical voltages, which went on until the year 1889, when there was a breakthrough in research and the Thury system that was able to produce 4.65 megawatts transmitted at 57.6 kilovolts, over a distance of 180 kilometers was introduced. This was followed by the induction polyphase electric motor theory, which was majorly used in 1889. Later, this would be developed into the first alternating current system, which was introduced by Tesla in 1891 into the United States. Power generation moved away from hydroelectric projects to turbo generators (Battaglin and Barreto, 2013). From there we see the creation of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which authorized the construction of the Experimental Breeder Reactor 1 which in December 1951, became the first nuclear reactor to generate electricity (None, 2015).  From this point on, Alan Roberts in his article titled The Politics of Nuclear Power in 1976 would state, The leading capitalist countries intend to generate most of their electrical power by nuclear means before the turn of the century,

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