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Monday, June 26, 2017
In 1905, Einstein discovered that mass could be changed into energy and vice versa. In 1918, Sir Ernest Rutherford showed that atoms could be split. By 1942, the world had its first nuclear reactor.
Today, 104 nuclear plants supply about 20 percent of the United State's electricity. The oldest plants have been operating since before 1979. There have been no new sites built since the Three Mile Island disaster (1979).
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Today's Random Fact:
Currently, nuclear waste in the United States is stored in cooling pools of water and in dry storage casks at nuclear power plants. The United States government, however, hopes to bury its waste deep underground at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Nevadans and surrounding states have protested this proposal.
The United States has 71,862 tons of nuclear waste. Waste can stay dangerous for tens of thousands of years. The industry's nuclear pile of waste is growing about 2,200 tons a year. Some waste sites contain four times the amount of spent fuel they were designed to handle.
The first nuclear-powered surface vessel was the Russian icebreaker Lenin. The largest nuclear powered surface ship is the 1,122-foot-long USS Enterprise, which was launched in 1960. It was the longest naval vessel in the world and has eight reactors driving four propellers. She was just recently decommissioned.
The U.S.S. Nautilus was the first nuclear-powered submarine and was put to sea in December 1954. Named after the submarine in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, she was the first vessel to travel submerged under the North Pole, on August 3, 1958. She was decommissioned in 1980 and has been preserved as a National Historic Landmark.