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The socio scientific issue of Nuclear Power Generation in New Zealand: Should NZ stay Nuclear Power free?
Nuclear power stations produce and control the release of energy from splitting the atoms of certain elements. In the nuclear power station, the energy released is used as heat to heat water and then make steam. Steam is than used to generate electricity. Nuclear power stations are a growing concern to New Zealand with facts of whether we will benefit from them or not.  Nuclear power stations are usually considered base load stations, because of fuel being a minor part of the cost of production. The operation and maintenance and fuel costs of the nuclear power stations are at the low end of the spectrum and make them suitable as a base load power supplier. In relation to cost, nuclear power stations provide a fundamental structure which can provide a source of power for little cost.  However nuclear power stations come with much bigger understandings. Nuclear power stations are deemed very dangerous if not dealt with properly and carefully. They are high risk to both the environment and people and come with the menace of a nuclear meltdown.  Although power stations do seem such a hazardous source of power, they do come with the advantage of them being very reliable and effectively efficient in terms of power output.  With both advantages as well as disadvantages, I will determine by conducting an investigation, whether New Zealand should stay Nuclear Power free or not. I will investigate the socio scientific issue raised of Nuclear Power Generation in New Zealand.
Physics concepts and processes:
The nuclear physics theory behind Nuclear Power Stations
Nuclear Power Stations are the production of electricity by controlled release of energy from splitting atomic nuclei. The splitting of an atomic nucleus is known as fission. In power stations the nuclear fission of uranium-235 is used to produce a chain reaction, where the neutrons produced in the first fission create further fissions. The fission of uranium-235 releases a large amount of energy from its nucleus, as well as the fission fragments and neutrons. 
Equation of the nuclear fission reaction of uranium-235:
n + 1 235 141 92 1
0 92 56 36 0
In the nuclear reaction the charge (atomic number: Z) and the neutrons mass number (A) are conserved. Which is why the superscripts and the subscripts on either side of the equation balance. 
In the nuclear power station, it operates using nuclear fission. The nuclear fission produces energy which is used as heat to make steam. The steam is used to power turbines which than turn the generators. These generators produce electricity. Energy is related to the mass, which is shown in Einstein’s equation E=mc2. With the right conditions uranium splits into two smaller atoms, with the release of 2 or 3 neutrons. The combined mass of these subsequent particles is 99.9% of the mass of the original uranium atom. The mass deficit of the other 0.1% of the mass of the original uranium atom is converted into energy. This energy is released in the form of gamma rays a type of radiation, which can only be stopped by thick walls of lead, concrete or packed dirt.  The Nuclear Power Station structure therefore is very complex with many components forming the system, to maintain a safe and effective structure. These components include fuel, moderators, control rods, shielding, coolant, cooler pipes, heat exchanger, turbines, generators and a supply of water.  Each component has a unique role that it performs in order for electricity to be produced. The roles of each component are explained below:
The components of the Nuclear Power Station
The reactor uses nuclear fuel that are fissionable material. The commonly used nuclear fuel is usually the element of natural uranium enriched with uranium-235. Uranium is the basic fuel most commonly used amongst nuclear reactors (nuclear power stations). Plutonium or Thorium can also be used. However, the most commonly used fissionable material is uranium as it has a high melting point. 
The moderators in the nuclear reactor is material in the core which reduces the speed of the neutrons released by the uranium fission reaction, by absorbing its energy but not absorbing the neutron.  This is done so they can be captured by other uranium-235 nuclei to create more fission, i.e. to create a chain reaction. The material is usually graphite, however Heavy water and Beryllium are also common moderators. 
The control rods are usually made of boron a neutron-absorbing material, or in some cases can also be made of cadmium or hafnium, also neutron-absorbing materials. The control rods made of boron absorb the neutrons, controlling the chain reaction. The control rods are inserted into or withdrawn from the core, in order to control the rate of reaction. When control rods are raised more neutrons produce fission, but when they are lowered the chain reaction slows down. 
From the chain reaction heat energy is produced from the nuclear energy. 
The shielding prevents radiations reaching outside the reactor. Lead blocks and concrete enclosure with a strong build of several meters of thickness is used as shielding. The concrete radiation shield prevents escape of harmful radiation. 
The coolant is a substance used in the cooler pipe to the steam generator where the water is boiled. This is where the heat exchange process occurs. Heat is absorbed by the coolant, produced in the reactor.  Carbon dioxide gas under pressure is used as the coolant to remove heat energy produced by fuel elements. Common coolants are water, carbon dioxide gas or liquid sodium. 
A heat exchanger uses the heat energy from the carbon dioxide to heat the water in the water supply, to produce steam.
The steam produced with the heat exchanger in the boiler is passed through to a turbine. The force of the steam jet is used to drive the turbines, making them rotate. Steam (heat energy) is then converted into mechanical energy (moving turbine) which generates electrical energy. 
The generator consists of coils which change the mechanical energy into electrical energy. The moving turbines and change in magnetic flux causes electricity. This is then transmitted to substations for the distribution of electric power. 
The main purpose of using nuclear power stations
Benefits and risks to nz, economical, ethical, biological, or environmental.
Always relate to the physics behind it
Link to nuclear fuel cycle? (NZ need to import/generate raw materials)
Expand on the negative and positive effects. (show follow on effects)
What are the effects on the environment?
Physical implications of Nuclear Power Stations in NZ:
Physical implication risk is that the element uranium takes years to decay, very dangerous.
DNA as radiation can cause cancer and birth defects
waste products of uranium takes 100s to 1000s of years to decay, therefore very harmful for a long time.
If the power station was to collapse the area in which it was situated would be effected for decades kills off the land cant grow anything, and it mutates the people. Create a meltdown.
What are the effects on humans?
It could deter tourist (negative impact on being clean and green in NZ)
Long term effects and short term effects
Short term: powerstations being built- offers work, running power station- offers work
long term: environmental impact-polution, health impacts on workers and residents of nearby towns-high radiation
Economic: power shortages prevent production of export goods for businesses
Opinions for having nuclear power stations: (search on google for articles)
- (read NZ herald)
- Advocates, because you can recycle waste
- businesses, would have cheaper energy source?
Opinions against having nuclear power stations: (Search on google for articles)
- Green party- as they advertise a healthy and clean environment, effects climate change
- Locals from nearby residents: ruins there home and makes environment dangerous
-DOC. Because they are people who seek to look after the environment
Justify why I chose against, by using supporting evidence
Proposed personal and societal action:
They should be further studies into the effects of bringing nuclear waste to NZ to process
Societal studies will also need to be carried out, to measure public satisfaction. (survey to see who wants them here or not)
Write to newspaper and local MP, to inform and encourage participation in survey, or to vote no. Put it on radio to tell people my view so they can stand alongside me.
Referendum- look up
Nuclear Power Stations are the production of electricity by controlled release of energy from splitting atomic nuclei. The nuclear fission produces energy which is used as heat to make steam. The steam is used to power turbines which than power the generators. Generators than produce electricity. The Nuclear Power Station structure is very complex with many components forming the system. With components as simple as water, to components as complex as a generator. In the 1980s, New Zealand enacted legislation declaring it to be a ‘Nuclear free zone’ with respect to nuclear weapons and nuclear propelled vessels. Some people considered New Zealand’s nuclear free stance to be integral to our ‘clean, green’ image. However, there was no legislation prohibiting nuclear power stations in New Zealand. Other people still argue over the case of nuclear power stations being cheaper, a more sustainable way to get electricity and much less damaging to the environment than coal fired power stations. Nuclear power stations are foreseen as both a vital necessity for the future however also a damaging product for the ecosystem. Nuclear power stations swing to both positive and negative impacts on the ecosystem and society. I believe that encouraging nuclear power stations to be bought to New Zealand is a daring idea as it does prove to be very dangerous. However, I also believe that they would be an efficient and sustainable source of power, therefore I am willing to say I also believe that further studies that are conducted would be ideal. My initial question should New Zealand stay nuclear power free? Can be answered by me personally with the answer, “yes New Zealand should remain nuclear power free,” as I believe that introducing nuclear power stations is dangerous not only to ourselves, but to both our communities and environment too. Introducing them to New Zealand I believe would be a huge mistake, as nuclear energy has no place in a safe, clean and sustainable future.
TeAomarama Rewiri-Wharerau 213026864 Socio-Science: Power Generation AS91527nomical, ethical, biological, or environmental.
- Green party- as they adv