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Can we use nuclear energy in our homes?
Question Date: 2016-04-13
Answer 1:

Depending on where you live, you may already be using nuclear energy. When you plug anything into an electrical socket, you are using electricity from a variety of power plants. Many times, this electricity can come from a combination of coal, oil, wind, solar, natural gas, and nuclear sources. All of these sources produce the same exact electricity. If the question is whether you can generate nuclear energy in your home, scientifically the answer is yes, but legally, the answer is no. Nuclear energy has many risks associated with it and therefore is only produced at centralized large nuclear power plants.

The process of producing nuclear energy produces some radioactive waste that is very difficult to deal with and therefore needs to be handled by knowledgably professionals. Probably more importantly, the uranium that’s used for nuclear power plants can also be used for weapons. Therefore, you can’t buy uranium because the government might think you are making a bomb. With the right knowledge, you could build a small scale nuclear power plant in your house, but you would never be able to get the enriched uranium to power it.

Answer 2:

Depends on what you count as "in our homes." Nuclear power plants are already very common in Europe, North America and Asia. These plants produce large amounts of nuclear energy and convert it to electricity. The energy eventually reaches our homes using the electrical grid. In France, 77% of the energy generated comes from nuclear power.

I think generating nuclear power within our homes is possible to do, but probably a bad idea. I know that we can make fairly small nuclear reactors--after all, the first nuclear-powered submarine, the Nautilus, was built in the U.S. in 1954. But nuclear reactors come with a lot of safety issues that are not worth dealing with (at least in my house!). Plus, they would be expensive to build--you'd be better off with a small gas-powered motor like the one in a lawn mower or a car.

Answer 3:

We can use energy with a nuclear origin (which includes solar and geothermal), but it's difficult to imagine a practical scenario in which you would have a nuclear reactor inside of your house.

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