Answer to Question #23101 in Biochemistry for Tamara
Despite its negative image, nuclear energy may be the most efficient and realistic means of meeting the rapidly-growing demand for power. Why?
1) Nuclear power generation does not emit CO2 in principle and therefore no Greenhouse effect
2) While a natural gas-fired combined cycle plant, which is the most efficient power generation option, emits approximately 474g of CO2 to generate 1kWh of electricity, a nuclear power plant emits only about 20g of CO2 and can generate the same amount of electricity.
3) The maximum theoretical thermal efficiency of a power station is around 64% (look up 'Carnot Cycle'), but in real life the best thermal efficiency is around 42%. Various other random heat losses eventually give you around 33% overall 'generation' efficiency. Whereas, about 1/3 of the heat energy released from the fuel gets turned into electricity. The other 2/3 of the energy ends up as waste heat - it just warms up the power station and its surrounding environment.
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