As all things are finite, the resources on earth that we are consuming endlessly are also finite. With finite resources you could be assured of the fact that they will run out sooner rather than later. The pace and great scale the world is expanding is a worrisome factor for all the energy experts across the globe as the world is not able to cope up with the growing needs of the meteoric rise in the population levels all over the world. One of these resources that is very crucial to all the beings is power. We need power to drive our daily appliances, our cities and almost all other mechanisms and systems that we have built in this modern world. Up till now fossil fuels including oil, gas and coal have been the major resources that we have used to produce power. These resources have a very great backstory attached to them which is necessary to understand if we want to look at a greater picture of resources and their finiteness.
Fossil Fuels (Oil, Gas and Coal) are basically the remains of creatures either plant or animals, buried deep down the earth’s surfaces. Beneath the Earth’s surfaces, over time with pressure and other factors the remains are converted into oil, gas and coal depending on the type of remain they are as well as the duration to which they are pressurized. So basically, it is a very time-dependent process. Due to the modern age and are great exploitation of fossil fuels we are not able to give these remains enough time to actually carry a calorific value for us. The problem is a conundrum as we want to grow and develop at a rapid rate but to that we need to actually give the resources enough time to actually be able to serve us for longer periods of time. It poses a great question, which has been very difficult over the years that is do we want a longer lasting success or do we want success immediately? This question is the very paradox of life that we all deal with every day, but when the matter is regarding a global population with every step having far wider implications, we need to look at all aspects and be ready to be able to make strict decisions.
One way that we can opt for is nuclear energy. Nuclear Energy is the very foundation of our energy chain, as most of the energy produced by the sun is using nuclear processes of fission and fusion that emits light which harnessed by plants.
To understand the basics of nuclear energy we need to get familiar with three important terms which will come up frequently in all the concepts of nuclear energy. These terms are Nuclear Decay, Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion.
Nuclear Decay is the process by which atoms emit energy in the form of alpha, beta and gamma radiation due to their unstable nature. It is also called the radioactive decay. The main caveat with this process is that it is totally and solely random, without any trend or precedent to it. Predictions cannot be made about what will happen to the atom in a particular time or what type of radiation it will emit. However, the decay rate is somehow modelized using mathematical and exponential equations and using a concept of half-life. The decay processes involve three radiations which are alpha, beta and gamma. These radiations and the energy that they carry is then channeled into work-producing mechanisms to power up the appliances or devices we want.
Nuclear Fission is the nuclear reaction which results in the nucleus of an atom splits into two smaller particles or nuclei, generating a great deal of energy in the form of free neutrons and gamma radiation. The energy released has a greater than usual footprint even then that of the usual radioactive decay proving more beneficial to the energy harnessing mechanisms incorporated to actually make use of the whole process. It is often regarded as a transmutation process as the daughter particles are never the same as the parent particle, even they are not identical, carrying some discrepancy in their atomic and energy composition. Nuclear fission is the main driving force of energy when used for energy production as well as a menace as it causes the explosions that are used in the nuclear weapons
Nuclear fusion is another process and is almost the opposite of the above-mentioned process as it involves the culmination or uniting of two atomic nuclei to form a greater particle which is completely different and more massive then the parent nuclei. Energy is released as a result of this process. The energy is released because of the subsequent action of two opposing but strong forces acting on the nuclei of an atom. One is the nuclear force which tries to bind together the nucleus causing protons and neutrons to stick in place and not wander off. The other force is the Coulomb force which obeys the natural law of attraction or repulsion based on the respective charges of the particles. When we are trying to force the two particles together one of the forces actually falls apart and disintegrates based on the fundamental principles and causes a large amount of heat energy to be released which is then made to work. The nuclear fusion process is so not common in the modern-day world but the scientists and researchers are trying to make it work. The interplay of forces requires extremely high temperatures as both these forces are very fundamental forces, the only limitation occurs when we actually get to that extremely high temperatures, the actual process starts happening but the machinery or equipment that is necessary to monitor and maintain the process is not able to bare that temperature so it is not a successful attempt. The fusion is the process which is being done in heavenly, celestial bodies like the sun that provides with its energy due to its enormously high temperature.
Nuclear energy possesses one great benefit as well that the process is very environment friendly as it produces the least amount of carbon as the by-product which is a major greenhouse gas. All the process involved in the combustion of fossil fuels although due provide us with energy but their by-products include harmful toxicants and contaminants that pollute the air, luckily nuclear processes do not produce any such contaminants and offer a clean energy experience that is the utmost requirement of the fast degrading Earth.
One area of concern or special precaution when dealing with nuclear energy or radiation in general is their over exposure. Over exposure of nuclear energy can cause a great deal of damage to not only a single person but for generations to come. Nuclear energy has the potential to penetrate deep into the human body and actually cause alterations to the DNA (the basic unit of life) which will intern affect the offspring of that cells carrying an overall greater disadvantage to a wider population and eventually generations to come.