Respond in Blackboard Discussion
Charles E. Ophardt, Professor of Chemistry, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL 60126, charleso at, Copyright 2004
Issue 2 Introduction
Debate Question
Internet Resource Sites

There have been no new orders in the U.S. for nuclear power plants since 1974. The last plant was completed in the late 1980's. Since Chernobyl in 1986, opposition to nuclear power has increased dramatically.

West Germany: 46 --> 83 % opposed
United States: 67 --> 78
France: --> 52

In this role play you should find out about both the pro and cons concerning the use of nuclear power. First, concentrate on the science of how a nuclear power plant operates to produce energy which is then converted to electricity. Secondly, investigate the safety features or lack of them which has lead to accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Also consider the problem of radioactive waste disposal. Finally, give consideration to the possible use of new "second" generation nuclear power plants and the use of nuclear power as a possible partial solution to the global warming problem discussed earlier.

Debate Roles

For this debate, the instructor will assign members of the class to one of the possible roles listed below. In a role play you are expected to become knowledgeable about the issue so that you can accurately express the viewpoint and concerns of a typical person whose role you are playing. Attempt to do this even though you may not agree with that view point. Near the end of the debate you may express your own personal point of view.
The first three roles probably have a NO viewpoint, while the last three roles probably have a YES viewpoint. Although #3 may go either way.

 Role Play Assignments   Student ID
 1. Environmental Scientist  8, 9, 20, 21, 26
 2. Citizen living near a power plant, a (NIMBY) Not In My Back Yard advocate. 10, 11, 22, 23 , 27
 3. General Concerned Citizen 12, 13, 24, 25, 28
 4. Nuclear Scientist from NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) 1, 2, 14, 15, 29
 5. Electrical and Nuclear Power Plant Official 3, 4, 16, 17, 30
 6. Nuclear Fuel Cycle/Power Plant workers  5, 6, 7, 18, 19

Text reference Chap 5 and p. 390-394

Internet resources are divided into two sections: One of General Resources, the other in an Topic Outline form please use both as needed.

 NOTE: There are many, many internet sites available. You do not need to look at every one of them, some may have graphics that may be slow to load, but please look at a few of them as they will also be useful when you get to the discussion.



Internet Resources arranged in a Topical Format


 A. Types of Nuclear Radiation
- define, alpha, beta, gamma, X-Rays, Cosmic

Basics of Nuclear Chemistry

Types of Radioactivity

 B. Ionizing Radiation
- define, measurements, health effects - penetration versus ionizing power

Radiation in General
Detection of Radioacitivity -

Radiation and Life

 D. Natural Uranium and other Isotope Decay Reactions

ProfONotes: Uranium Decay series
Graph of Decay Series

Uranium Properties
 Uranium - Chemical of the Week

 E. Meaning of Half Life  Definition of Half-Life - t

 2. Fission Reaction - U-235 Chain Reaction

Nuclear Reactions 

Fission - simple animation

How nuclear energy works -

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Page


ProfO Notes: More Callaway photos
ProfO Notes: Museum nuclear plant model photos
ProfO Notes: Control Room and Turbine photos

Nuclear Power Plant - Nuclear Tourist
Nuclear Power plant - simple animations slide mouse on graphic. Look at lowest one to see action of control rods.

 A. Reactor Core -
Fuel rods, control rods, moderator
 B. Steam and Coolant Cycles
ProfO Notes: Cooling Tower photos and graphic
 C. Safety Features and Concerns

Safety of Nuclear Power Plants- Gives history and half way down general info.

Q & A Format - Go about halfway down for safety info.

Q & A- Dr. Charles Till, Argonne West Laboratory - Uranium, Plutonium, bombs, waste, recycling

Nuclear World - click some links on left

Nuclear Links - Contains a number of antinuclear links

 D. Spent Fuel Rods

Spent Fuel Rod Storage -

Nucler Fuel Storage - current and future
ProfO Notes: Dry Cask Storage photos

 A. Three Mile Island  PBS - TMI What Happened
Washington Post series
Three mile Island
Judge's ruling that TMI did not releases significant radiation
 B. Chernobyl  Chernobyl Accident

What really happened at Chernobyl- lengthy reading

 6. Environmental Impact

 A. Low level nuclear waste sources - hospitals, laboratories -states to develop own sites

Nuclear Waste - in general 
Nuclear Waste - very brief

Nuclear Waste storage - very simple animations

Waste Management Options

 B. Nuclear Power Plant Waste - Yucca Mountain

General Information on Yucca Mountain

EPA Yucca Mountain
Storage containers

 C. Defense and Weapons production wastes - low and high level - WIPP  Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Home Page (WIPP)


(text p.393)

Nuclear Power for the Future - Chemical and Engineering News, Sept. 13, 2004 - gives overview of all new plant designs.

Advanced reactor designs - summary

Pebble Bed Reactor

Modular High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor
HTG also used for Hydrogen Synthesis

The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) is a new reactor concept that was being developed by
Argonne National Laboratory-West. Some of the main features of the IFR are
metallic fuel, a liquid metal coolant, and on-site fuel recycling.

Advanced Design for the Thermochemical Synthesis of Hydrogen

 9. Fusion Reaction - Can it be controlled and used?

Course on Fusion - virtual tour

Home Page for Educational Fusion Description

 10. What is the future of nuclear power as an answer to energy shortage or global warming?  


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