Climate change

Whether you’ve learned about it in school or from your parents its obvious that climate change is, and is primarily a problem that needs to be solved.

First to lay out the facts; In 2013 scientists at the Global carbon project said the we burned 35.6 billion metric tonnes of carbon that year, and the amount of carbon we burn keeps growing by 2.8-9.9% each year, and it is estimated that by a varied amount of scientists that during the middle of the century that our carbon emission will be double the amount that it is now.  And the biggest amount of CO2 emissions produced by humans is in activities like cement production, deforestation as well as the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas(, 2017).

400px-Carbon_Footprint2And it is clear that we are all aware that this is going on, but we put it to the back of our mind, and continue life and act as if though this was a problem for later but this is happening now.  We must not take this planet for granted.  If this problem isn’t visible now it will be a much clearer problem in the time of the next generation or the one after.  To be more clear we’re all gonna die!

The affects climate change has is the loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.  Or in countries where it has been more affected e.g. China, you can barely breathe from all the toxic smog in the air.  And another 0.5°F increase would be expected over the next few decades, and to learn more about the future impact of climate change click here for a government report on it!

But you must be wondering; what can you do about it?  Firstly turn off the lights, or the tap when you’re not using it because that precious energy should be used for when you really need it.  Also the big one is CARS! just by walking or biking to your work or school, or taking the bus if its too far can save so much energy, and release way less carbon monoxide into the atmosphere than needed.  Another is reaching out to others in your community and spread awareness about the topic.  But a very strong one is to give up all non renewable energy sources at all; recycle, use electric cars, wind power, solar power, or anything that uses less energy or release less CO2.

And although this may seem like a daunting task start with baby steps to solve the simple problems, and together we can save our world from its destruction.

What really happened during the Chernobyl incident

Radiation is a series of electromagnetic waves with high-energy particles that cause ionization(when an atom gains or loses an electron usually in a chemical reaction), and depending on how how much energy the particles have will depend on how badly it will affect your body.  The 3 main types of radiation that our class discusses is Alpha, Beta, and Gamma decay. Alpha decay is a process that atoms do to become more stable During alpha decay, an atom’s nucleus sheds two protons and two neutrons in a packet that scientists call an alpha particle.  Since an atom loses two protons during alpha decay, it changes from one element to another. For example, after undergoing alpha decay, an atom of uimages.jpegranium (with 92 protons) becomes an atom of thorium (with 90 protons).  Beta decay is another process that atoms use to become more stable, and there are 2 different types; beta-plus and beta-minus.  In beta-minus decay a neutron in the atom’s nucleus turns into a proton,electron, and antineutrino, then the electron and antineutrino move away from the nucleus.  Therefore now it is just the atom with another proton which changes it into a different element for example an atom of carbon (with 6 protons) becomes an atom of nitrogen (with 7 protons).  During beta-plus decay a proton in the nucleus turns into a neutron, positron, and a neutrino, then the positron and neutrino move away from the atom.  Therefore it is the same atom but just with one less proton which changes it into a different element for example; an atom of carbon (with 6 protons) becomes an atom of boron (with 5 protons).  Gamma decay is when through the release of electromagnetic radiation, the atom will move to a lower energy state, but the number of protons does not change in this process, the outcome is the energy is divided into 2 separate particles.

During the 1970’s and 80’s In the town Pripyat, Ukraine the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was designed and built.  The unfortunate incident happened when the the team decided to test the reactor with an inadequately trained member and wanted to test it before it was ready to get the reactor made commercially faster for the economic benefits.  Although some more logical opposing scientists in the discussion attempted to put forth that the RBMK (a boiling water reactor) reactor that they wanted to build released forty times more radiation than the PWR(Pressurized Water Reactors), but it was denied and director Bryukhanov and his team went forth with building the RBMK reactor.  The main reason why the team decided to use the RBMK reactor in the construction is because it produced cheaper electricity but unfortunately that was the beginning of many more bad decisions to come.

But the RBMK reactors were not completely precarious.  For example in fuel assemblies the RBMK does not need to be shutdown for refueling as the PWR does because of the individual pressure tubes it has whereas one pressure vessel contains all of the assemblies in a PWR.  However the PWR still would have been a better option to build as it is safer, for example Water acts as both coolant and moderatostudent-pwr.gifr in PWR’s so that a loss of coolant also stops the fission reaction. In the RBMK, the moderator is solid graphite(which is very flammable at room temperature)  and the water coolant acts that the presence of water absorbs neutrons and slows the reaction.
when a part of the water is replaced by steam the power will increase. This is known as a positive void coefficient. And in some conditions, the power of the reactor can increase uncontrollably until the reactor explodes, which is what happened at Chernobyl which is why it is now illegal for any reactor to have this design flaw today.

To be more specific, at 1:23am they lowered the nuclear fuel rods into the coolant which created the steam making the reactor release energy uncontrollably and detach the 1,000-ton plate covering the reactor core, which then released radiation into the atmosphere and cut off the flow of coolant into the reactor.  But the release of radiation was not a small mistake.  Most of the radiation released was from iodine-131, cesium-134 and cesium-137.  And iodine-131 can be very harsh to people’s thyroid.  Twenty eight of the workers died in the following four months, and a total of 31 died from the radiation poisoning.  And much of the radiation traveled through the atmosphere to the rest of Europe and there are still traces of the chernobyl radiation in the European atmosphere that it causes over 25,000 child cancers in Europe today.

But this devastating event did not just have an impact on the people that lived near the incident but it also had disastrous effects on our environment.  For example all plants, and trees were damaged that were in a 20-30 kilometre radius. It  contaminated 125,000 square miles of land in Belarus, and Russia and Ukraine with radionuclides including cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium-239.  The Chernobyl accident took place during the growing season, and it took only two weeks for the conifers to suffer significant damage from exposure.

Socially, this situation was very unethical.  Fistly, “the man in charge was afraid of the technology he was seeking to dominate” as it said in the zero hour film.  However, he wouldn’t back down from his position in any circumstance due to his pride.  And there were multiple other circumstances like this during the chernobyl incidents, where some of the team members would work machines even with inadequate experience just with the outcome of not losing their pride.  

And although many disastrous events have outcome from nuclear reactors, It is a nearly 100% renewable energy source that should not be continued to advance throughout Canada in the future.  Nuclear powered uses nuclear fusion which is the reaction where to very light nuclei(low atomic number) fuse together to form a single more massive atom, but it is not as heavy as the combined mass of the 2 starting nuclei and then this lost mass is turned into energy.  Compared to most energy Nuclear waste, if buried underground cannot do the harmful effects that CO2 does to our environment and is just as efficient.  However on the other hand, If hit with a natural disaster such as the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, it can release deadly amounts of radiation that can killed many of the workers or citizens in the area such as the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) did in 2011.  And with a proposed nuclear war appearing in the future, when the reactors get hit they will already release dangerous amounts of radiation, it will just be adding to the problem.  Therefore, It is necessary for us to find a less harmful but more sufficient power source, the best option would be electric power, and recycling the waste, or hydrogen powered.  

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