How Would You grade this?

How would you grade this essay I wrote on nuclear power?

With growing numbers of people in the United States purchasing computers, televisions, appliances, and many other electricity-gobbling devices, the demand for electric power has been surging. Between 1991 and 2000, Americans’ electricity usage jumped more than 30 percent. Meanwhile, power plants became extremely difficult and expensive to build, requiring exhaustive and time-consuming scientific studies to determine how the plant would affect the surrounding environment. As a result, relatively few new plants were constructed.

In the summer of 2000, residents of California experienced a severe electricity shortage caused by a complex combination of factors, including a shortage of power-generating capability, skyrocketing prices for the natural gas used to fuel power plants, and exploding demand for electricity. By March 2001, the shortage became so serious that the state’s largest utility companies called for rolling blackouts–controlled, successive power outages in designated areas–to avoid even more widespread power outages. Although investigators learned in May 2002 that the crisis was caused in large part by questionable, and perhaps illegal, business practices by the Enron Corporation, an energy company in Houston, it still pointed up weaknesses in the power-generation system in the United States.

The crisis in California exposed the need for greater power-production capabilities throughout the country, forcing energy officials to begin an urgent effort to increase generating capacity. As they sought solutions to the problem, many energy experts said it was time to reconsider nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas).

One of the big advantages of nuclear power plants is that they do not generate greenhouse gases–gases, such as carbon dioxide, that slow the radiation of heat away from the Earth, thereby raising the planet’s surface temperature, and possibly contributing to global warming. Power plants that burn fossil fuels produce such gases in abundance, and they also contribute to air pollution. Although nuclear energy has its drawbacks, including the production of radioactive waste and the potential for dangerous accidents, it has been a part of the U.S. energy mix since the late 1950’s. In 2002, more than 100 nuclear reactors generated about 20 percent of the nation’s energy, second only to coal-fired plants. Plants that burn coal or other fossil fuels produce about 70 percent of U.S. electricity. Of the remaining 10 percent, nearly all is produced by hydroelectric power, electricity generated at dams. Various other energy sources, including windmills, solar-energy, geothermal energy (Earth’s internal heat), and waste-burning collectively generate about 1 percent.

In May 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush unveiled his national energy policy, which called for an expanded role for nuclear energy. One of the reasons for the reviving interest in nuclear energy is that it is a very cost-effective way to generate electricity. Nuclear reactions release millions of times more energy than the chemical reactions involved in the burning of fossil fuels. For example, a piece of uranium fuel weighing just 0.04 ounce (1 gram) can release as much energy as the burning of about 2.3 metric tons (2.5 tons) of coal. Moreover, the cost of nuclear power is relatively stable while the prices of fossil fuels are always in flux. To make nuclear energy an even more attractive source of energy, nuclear engineers have been working to develop simpler, safer nuclear power plants that are easier to maintain than the plants operating in 2002.

The two most common types of reactors are boiling-water reactors and pressurized-water reactors. These reactors are often called "light-water reactors" to distinguish them from reactors that use heavy water (deuterium oxide, a special type of water in which the hydrogen nuclei contain a neutron as well as a proton) as the coolant.

In a boiling-water reactor, the water surrounding the reactor core boils, creating steam directly in the reactor vessel. This slightly radioactive steam is sent through pipes to a turbine, which turns electric generators, creating electricity. The steam coming out of the turbine then cools and condenses into liquid water, which is returned to the reactor vessel to be used again.

In a pressurized-water reactor, which is the most common type of nuclear reactor, the water is under extremely high pressure, about 160 kilograms per square centimeter (2,000 pounds per square inch). That pressure enables the water to be heated to about 325 degrees C (620 degrees F), well above its normal boiling temperature of 100 degrees C (212 degrees F). The pressurized and slightly radioactive water from the reactor goes to a steam generator that contains a large number of small tubes through which the hot, pressurized water flows. Water from a separate system flow

5 Responses to “How Would You grade this?”

  1. judy Says:

    Are you Andrew C. Kadak? If not, I’d give it a 0 since it was copied word for word from the World Book Encyclopedia (2008).

    "Reconsidering Nuclear Power

    Improved designs for nuclear plants, rising fuel prices, and concerns about air quality are prompting many people to take a fresh look at nuclear energy.

    By Andrew C. Kadak

    With growing numbers of people in the United States purchasing computers, televisions, appliances, and many other electricity-gobbling devices, the demand for electric power has been surging. Between 1991 and 2000, Americans’ electricity usage jumped more than 30 percent. Meanwhile, power plants became extremely difficult and expensive to build, requiring exhaustive and time-consuming scientific studies to determine how the plant would affect the surrounding environment. As a result, relatively few new plants were constructed."

    There’s a bunch more, but yahoo won’t let me post it all here. I don’t know why. Trust me, the whole thing’s there plus MANY more pages.

    "About the author:

    Andrew C. Kadak is a professor of nuclear engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

    World Book© 2008 World Book, Inc. All rights reserved. WORLD BOOK and the
    GLOBAL DEVICE are registered trademarks or trademarks of World Book, Inc."

  2. Krista W Says:

    If I saw this, which appears to be a research paper, and saw no sources that were cited, I’d give it a failing grade, no matter how well-written it was.

  3. Darby Says:

    Well, what is your thesis statement. I don’t know if it is the rising consumption or energy or the cost of new power plants. I didn’t really study this, but you say it s about nuclear power. You definitely need sources; make sure the footnotes are properly written, give credit to quotes you are using and for sure do not plagiarize. I wish I had a good resource book to recommend to you. I would look at the English book you are using in class and look at your syllabus for resources.. Your closing paragraph should be a recap of how you’ve proven your thesis statement. Your writing, punctuation, etc., seem impeccable.

  4. THE SINGER Says:

    First, I’d want to know what grade level this student is. Second, I’d want to see the references and sources cited, and Third, as ‘the teacher’, I would want to ensure that these were the students words/paraphrased.

    I know for a fact, if I saw this written by one of my 8th graders – I’d know they copied -word-for-nuclear-powered-word…(lol) Perhaps you speak this way –

    It’s a good essay but I’d have to ask – is California the only state who has seen crisis? I think if you could show at least one other state in crisis because of nuclear power and waste that you’d drive your point home.

    You need to conclude your essay the way you began it. (Mirror first paragraph with last). What is your point? What is the ‘nail-in-the-coffin’ that you want to drive home to your reader?

  5. Jackson Says:

    Hold on let me grade it…calculating my scores… *scribble* *scribble*
    Ok your final grade is a ~94~