• April 27th, 2016

What are advantages and disadvantages of each alternative in the near and more distant future and what should society do to encourage or discourage, subsidize or tax and regulate these technologies?

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

You are to write a 5-10 page (double spaced, typed) paper on the subject: ”Increased
reliance on nuclear energy and wind power are both advocated to reduce
CO2 emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. What are advantages and disadvantages
of each alternative in the near and more distant future and what should society do
to encourage or discourage, subsidize or tax and regulate these technologies?
As in previous assignments, the paper should have 3 parts:
1. An introduction which defines the terms in the question clearly, including
an explanation of the physics principles involved in each of the two technologies as
well as of the detailed mechanisms by which the technologies work.
2. A middle section presenting facts concerning the advantages and disadvantages
of each, including cost, safety, intermittency, distribution and all environmental
issues, clearly explaining the associated physical principles. Be as quantitative
as possible. This section will also review public policies in place concerning regulation
and subsidy of the two technologies in major countries and regions including
the US, China, the EU and any other countries and regions of particular interest
to you.
3. A concluding section in which the facts assembled in 2. are used to address
the question in the title as defined in 1. In light of your findings, you should should
evaluate policy changes regarding these technologies which have been recently implemented
or proposed, including tighter regulation of nuclear power plants, cessation
of licensing of new nuclear power plants altogether (as in Germany), encouragement
and subsidy of new nuclear power plant construction (as in China),
investment in nuclear waste storage technology development and implementation
, subsidy of wind power (as occurs intermitently in the US), and requiring utilities
to produce a fixed fraction of their electric power from renewable sources not
including nuclear energy (as occurs in some states in the US) and investment in
’smart grids’ and energy storage technologies to deal with wind intermittency. The
list is not intended to be inclusive. State the major arguments in favor of these
and other options using the information gathered in the middle section. Separately
review the interests of the social groups (eg nuclear plant manufacturers, privately
owned utilities, government regulators, research scientists and engineers, political
leaders and environmental and other nonprofit public interest groups) with regard
to their positions on each possible option. Finally express a balanced view of your
own position on the merits of these two approaches and the ways in which they
should be encouraged or discouraged.
This final paper should be well referenced (at least 5 relevant references beyond
1
the textbook). There should be evidence that the references have actually been
read and that relevant content has been extracted and presented clearly in your own
words, especially in section 2. You are reminded that about the rules concerning
plagarism: Text which is copied word for word MUST be enclosed in quotation
marks and a reference or footnote to the bibliography must indicate the source.
Facts stated, even if not quoted word for word, must also be referenced. Violations
of the plagarism policy will result in a 0 for the assignment.
Here are some recommended sources to get you started:
https://allthingsnuclear.org/ This is a newletter by the Union of Concerned Scientists
(UCS), a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC which is staffed
by Ph. D. nuclear engineers and physicists. They are supported by contributions
mainly from the scientific community and take no position for or against nuclear
power. However they provide a sceptical , relatively unbiased and scientifically informed
view of developments in the nuclear power industry. See especially the article
posted April 2, 2011 on Japan’s nuclear crisis. Also https://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear power/
https://www.nrc.gov This is the US government web site of the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission which is in charge of regulating and licensing nuclear power plants
in the United States. You can usefully compare their positions with those of the
UCS referenced above.
https://www1.eere.energy.gov/wind This is the web site of the US government
Department of Energy program to develop wind power in the US.

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