This unit on nuclear energy allows the student to investigate and research the energy problem in the United States and throughout the world. Nuclear energy is only one of many energy alternatives but probably the most controversial. With Connecticut containing three operating nuclear power plants, with a fourth under construction, this unit can give students information about an energy source used by a portion of Connecticut’s population. The unit covers the definition of nuclear energy and what makes up a power plant. This is valuable because it will help the student visualize how electricity is produced. The unit also includes the safety of nuclear energy and questions what actually occurred at Three Mile Island. The TMI incident can be used as a research or debate topic by the student. Radiation, and its effects on the environment, including human beings, may also be discussed throughout this unit, with an initial lesson planned on the definition of radiation, the different types of radiation, and their effects. Also included is the subject of disposal of both high-level and low-level wastes. There are sample classroom activities to demonstrate how this unit can be used in the classroom. Also, the listing of audio-visual materials and the bibliography can aid anyone interested in further research on nuclear energy.
(Recommended for 9th grade Physical Science and Senior High School Environmental Science.)