Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nuclear Energy Resources for Educators

Energy is a main subject in science education, the media, and society. Nuclear energy is also a main subject and recent issues have brought it to the forefront of conversations.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently approved a new nuclear reactor design. The new design is the AP1000 from Westinghouse. No new US nuclear reactors have been built in 30 years, so this is significant.

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

There are plans to build one in Georgia.

The new design is more efficient and safe and includes safety features to cool the reactors even if it loses power (like the Fukushima reactor).

Nuclear power is a good source of low-carbon electricity and US designs have been very safe. This new design approval could lead the way to more nuclear power and less reliance on coal and oil for electricity.

The issue of what to do with the spent fuel is still a concern, but there are new ideas for storage and even using spent fuel in a secondary reactor to get more energy out of it and decrease it's radioactivity.

Here's a link to Westinghouse's web site describing the reactor design and it's features.

With all the emphasis on energy, the environment, and the Fukushima reactor accident, this is a great resource for educators to use with their students.

Related Resources:

US Energy Information Admin - Energy Kids - Nuclear Energy page

US Department of Energy - All About Nuclear Energy 

The Road Ahead - educational resources on Energy from Discovery Education


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