Nuclear Energy Pros and Cons - Energy Informative
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
For this essay’s purposes, the most important ecological understanding is that the Sun provides all of earthly life’s energy, either (all except nuclear-powered electric lights driving photosynthesis in greenhouses, as that energy came from dead stars). Today’s hydrocarbon energy that powers our industrial world comes from captured sunlight. Exciting electrons with photon energy, then stripping off electrons and protons and using their electric potential to power biochemical reactions, is what makes Earth’s ecosystems possible. Too little energy, and reactions will not happen (such as ice ages, enzyme poisoning, the darkness of night, food shortages, and lack of key nutrients that support biological reactions), and too much (such as , ionizing radiation, temperatures too high for enzyme activity), and life is damaged or destroyed. The journey of life on Earth has primarily been about adapting to varying energy conditions and finding levels where life can survive. For the many hypotheses about those ancient events and what really happened, the answers are always primarily in energy terms, such as how it was obtained, how it was preserved, and how it was used. For life scientists, that is always the framework, and they devote themselves to discovering how the energy game was played.
Energy and the Human Journey: Where We Have Been; …
In their dance around an , electrons exist in “.” The most stable electron configuration exists when the electrons fill the shells and each electron is paired with another, and each electron spins in the opposite direction of its partner. The classical view of an electron had an electron orbiting the nucleus much in the same way that Earth orbits the Sun, but quantum theory presents a different picture, in which an electron is a . Even then, a hydrogen electron’s orbit does not look much different from the classical image, and the classical view largely suffices for this essay in presenting the energetic aspects of the electrons’ properties.