Nov 24 25 research instructions for nuclear energy debate

Physics 11
Nuclear Energy Debate
Research Assignment
Our society needs electricity, and the need is increasing very quickly. BC Hydro needs to create more
generating capacity to meet the demand and keep prices low. One of several alternatives they are
considering is a nuclear power plant. Naturally there are concerns about the safety and long-term costs
of nuclear energy, especially compared to other potential sources of electricity. Your task is to research
the issues and prepare arguments (with supporting facts) to be used in a debate in class. Regardless of
whether you will argue for or against the use of nuclear generating stations, you must know how a
CANDU nuclear plant works (in general), what it requires as resources, what it produces as waste
products, how much electricity it can generate and what the costs are like. You must also choose
either one other method of producing electricity to research (find out the same
general information) or find methods of conserving or reducing electricity demand,
and give some of their cost/benefit arguments. For example if a regular 60Watt light bulb
(incandescent) costs $ 0.60 and lasts 1000 hours, a compact fluorescent bulb that gives off the same
amount of light takes 13 Watts, costs $4.50 and lasts 5000 hours – how much energy would each
consume in 5000 hours, and if it costs $0.07 per kWh which is cheaper in the long run? What if energy
costs double?)
After the debate, you will submit your hand written point form notes (with sources
noted) along with a typed summary of your research findings and a 50 word
conclusion in support of either building or not building a nuclear power plant
somewhere within 100 km of the Lower Mainland.
Physics 11 “British Columbia Needs Nuclear Energy” Debate Study Groups
Research your assigned area. You may work with others researching the same area. Get at least 1 page
of single spaced notes summarizing as much as possible (point form ok) the facts and arguments
supporting your assigned area, from at least three different sources. Be sure to record details about all
sources used on a separate page. If time permits, or you need more material, try to anticipate what
flaws your opponent’s arguments will have, or what they will think your flaws are, and prepare material
against them
1. Pro Nuclear Power : prove that we need it (growing electrical demand) as a clean (no
greenhouse gases, small footprint) source of energy.
2. Anti Nuclear power : prove that it is too dangerous (mining/refining, waste products, accidents,
terrorist threat, bomb material production) to allow
3. Pro Nuclear power : prove that it is safer than coal, oil, gas burning (mining, delivery, pollution
deaths), that waste can be contained (burial etc.), and it doesn't have big environmental impact
like dams
4. Anti Nuclear power : prove that its real costs (special construction, accident cleanup and
prevention, waste storage, de-commissioning facilities that are too old or damaged) make it too
expensive compared to hydro or other forms
EVERYONE MUST RESEARCH Alternatives - describe the basics of conservation instead of
generating more, or present info on one of the renewable energy sources like hydro-electric,
tidal power, geothermal power, wind power, run of the river power, solar power, biogas power,
or others.
We will hold a debate in class, in small groups and as a whole group. During any debate you are
expected to add more information to your notes about what others are saying about your points,
what important points they are making, or why you think their points are wrong.
You will hand in your computer research (with the list of sources used) and your handwritten notes
for marks.