NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — In order to build a nuclear power plant, you need a lot of land and a natural body of water, in order to expel heat. North Dakota does have the capacity and area to do this, but what exactly is this energy source?
In nuclear energy, there is either fusion or fission. In fusion, particles in the atom come together, which creates a massive amount of energy. In fission, particles in the atom come apart, which also creates a lot of energy through heat.
According to the Department of Energy, fusion releases more energy than fission; however, it is more difficult to control.
Fusion is so powerful, it literally powers the sun, according to the American Museum of Natural History. The heat from nuclear energy can then be converted into electricity in a nuclear power plant, similar to how heat from fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oil is used to generate electricity.
“Many things have to happen, have to go right basically for these experiments to really reach very high yields and gains,” says Arthur Pak, Stagnation Scientist at the Dept. of Energy, “So, we have to set up our diagnostics to capture that bit, but we also have to set up the diagnostics to capture lower orders of magnitude, so that if it doesn’t go right, we understand what happened, and what was the failure mechanism, so we can fix it in the future.”
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, nuclear reactors generate close to one-third of the world’s carbon-free electricity. But they cost a lot to make, up to $10 billion. North Dakota is always looking to explore this area, but officials say more research needs to be done on logistics.
To find out how long it takes to build a nuclear plant, and learn more about the logistics from the World Nuclear Association, click here.