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Nuclear Radiation

Viktor Chernobay                                                                                          
Biology 115                              

     Nuclear energy was discovered in the
process of creating the atomic bomb.  
After scientists conducted more experiments, they found that nuclear
power was a clean and efficient way to produce energy.   “The first nuclear reactor was created on
December 2, 1942, at the University of Chicago by Enrico Fermi.” (Editors of
Scientific America, 1995).   The discovery
of nuclear energy provided a new source of energy and an alternative to the use
of natural resources: such as coal, oil, water, and wood.   At the same time, nuclear energy could be
used in a destructive way, such as   the
atomic bomb.

that time, the discovery of a new source of energy was a very significant
event. By using a small amount of plutonium and uranium, two radioactive
elements, an enormous amount of energy could be obtained.   Nuclear energy can be produced in two
different ways, by the fission or fusion process.   Fission involves the breaking up of heavier
atoms into lighter atoms.   In a nuclear
fission reaction, two smaller nuclei of approximately   equal mass are formed from the splitting of a
large nucleus.   This splitting of an atom
produces a large amount of energy.   This
process is the most common form of nuclear power.   Fusion is a method that combines lighter
atoms into heavier atoms.   In a nuclear
fusion reaction, a large nucleus is formed from two small nuclei joined
together.   Fusion reactions are difficult
to produce because of the repulsion of the atom’s negatively charged electron
clouds and the positively charged nucleus. (LeMay, Beall, Robblee, Brower,
1996).     Fusion is mostly used to create
the hydrogen bomb. (The World Book Encyclopedia, 1990).   The byproduct of nuclear energy is
radiation.   Radiation is created from the
particles (strontium-90, cesium-137, radon-222, krypton-85, and nitrogen-16)
that are given off as a result of the splitting of   atoms. (Gale Encyclopedia of Science, 1996)
(Demmin, 1994).

     As time went on, the attitudes of people
towards nuclear energy changed.   There
were many positive and negative aspects for the use of nuclear power.  

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