A WebQuest for Environmental Science
The United States is an energy hungry nation. As the price of fossil fuels rise and we analyze the short and long term
effects of burning fossil fuels, the need to examine other energy sources is imperative. In April 2006, former Governor
Jeb Bush outlined his solution to our energy problem here in Florida - build more nuclear power plants. Even though
nuclear power burns clean, what do to with the resulting nuclear waste is a huge environmental concern.
After completing this tutorial, students will:
- Identify the energy sources used in Florida.
- Know where Florida's nuclear power plants are located.
- Be able to weigh the pros and cons of nuclear power.
- Recognize the dangers associated with nuclear waste and consider solutions to this ever-growing problem.
PART A: FLORIDA ENERGY STATISTICS
Use the link entitled, "Florida Energy Statistics" to answer the questions below.
1. Use the data table entitled, "Electricity Market in Florida" to create a bar graph that compares how much of EACH
fossil fuel we used from 2002 to 2004. Be sure to label each axis and provide a title for your graph.
2. Now examine the data table entitled, "Nuclear Power Plants in Florida Net Generation and Capacity." Draw a pie
graph that shows the percentage that each of our nuclear power plants generated in 2004. Don't forget to label and title
PART B: NUCLEAR REACTORS IN THE UNITED STATES
Use the map with the same title as this section to answer the questions below. Respond in complete sentences.
3. Which state has the most nuclear reactors?
4. In which area of the United States:
a. Do you find the greatest number of nuclear reactors?
b. The fewest?
c. What might explain this distribution pattern?
PART C: URANIUM MILLING IN THE UNITED STATES
Use the link with the same title as this section to complete the questions below in complete sentences.
5. In what states are uranium mills located?
6. Why do you think that the uranium mills located in the western portion of the United States?
PART D: RADIOACTIVE WASTE
Use the link with the same title as this section to complete the questions below. Respond in complete sentences.
7. Compare and contrast low-level radioactive waste to high-level radioactive waste. Draw a Venn diagram to answer
8. Why do you think hospitals are a source of radioactive waste? Name at least one other nonmedical facility that might
generate radioactive waste.
9. There are several options for nuclear waste disposal. These options include sending the waste into space, storing the
waste in deep isolated parts of the ocean, storing it in Antarctica, or storing it in a stable geologic formation (like a
mountain). Choose what you believe to be the best option and explain your reasoning behind this choice.
PART E: YUCCA MOUNTAIN
Click on the link entitled, "Yucca Mountain." Examine the photo carefully.
10. Summarize how waste will be stored at Yucca Mountain. (Take a close look at the information next to the large 1,
2, 3 and 4.)
11. Let's say that you live 100 miles from Yucca Mountain. Would you be for or against the construction of this
facility? Explain your answer.
PART F: WASTE ON THE MOVE
Click on the link with the same title as this section. Examine the map carefully. You can also see a close-up of Florida
by clicking on "a closer look at individual states."
12. Nuclear waste has to be transported to Yucca Mountain from the sources of the waste. Where are these routes
located in Florida? (Describe any large cities or major roadways that are locaed near these routes.)
13. Could Manatee County be affected if there were an accident along the routes that travel through Florida? Describe
some potential consequences of an accident.
14. Let's say that the power company has decided to build a new nuclear power plant east of I-75 along the Manatee
River. Many people in the community support this decision. Other citizens strongly oppose it. Which side would you
take? Provide at least three reasons for your decision.
Florida Energy Statistics
Nuclear Reactors in the United States
Uranium Milling in the United States
Waste on the Move
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The point break-down for this assignment is as follows:
Graphs - 10 points each
Short answer questions - 2 to 6 points each
As stated above, former Governor Bush proposed that Florida consider the construction of additional nuclear power
facilities to meet our future energy needs. Do you agree with him? If so, where should these facilities be built? Who
should pay for it? What do we do with the wastes? Do you think we should examine other energy alternatives?
Now that you've completed this lesson, you should have enough facts to form educated responses to these questions. As
future voters, it is imperative that you know where candidates stand on this type of issue so that your voice is heard.
Credits & References
Image courtesy of: http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/youth/images/powerplant.jpg