Nuclear Power in Canastota
A [hypothetical] Chemistry Web Quest
Modified by E Tucci & J. Garrisi; originally created by M. Russell
Introduction | The Task | The Process | Instructions | Evaluation |
In an effort to revive the economy in their area, a group of concerned Canastota citizens has lobbied the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and convinced them that the shores of Oneida Lake would be an ideal location for the state's next nuclear power plant. The citizens of Canastota have been left with two choices: Vote to accept the power plant and all of its benefits or reject the proposal because of the negative aspects of living with the danger of a nuclear power plant in their backyard.
The Canastota Village Council has decided to gather a team of specialists to investigate the opening of the power plant. Each specialist will present their report at a town meeting. It has been decided that the team will consist of between four and six members:
Your task in "Nuclear Power in Canastota" is to form a Web Quest Team of between four and six people each of which will take on one of the roles listed above. You and your teammates will work together to create a Special Report for the village meeting that makes sense out of the complex issue of nuclear power.
What is nuclear power? How does it produce electricity? Why are some people against using it? Think about how you feel about nuclear energy. Do you really know enough about the subject to be for or against it? Does it have a better reputation in Europe? Why? What is the current policy regarding nuclear power in the United States? Can nuclear power plants explode?
You live in a world where non-renewable fossil fuels dominate the energy scene. The fossil fuel energy solution is convenient, but will it satisfy the energy demands of the next century? "MORE POWER" seems to be the phrase of the day. Could it be possible that nuclear power could provide society with the solution to the energy crisis?
- Each classroom team member will pick a role listed below. Click on the role's link at the bottom of the page to read more information about the person and their perspective.
- New York Electric Board Member who wants to convince the town people that a power plant would be an economic boost in a time of recession.
- Save Our Canastota Member (SOC) who feels that there would be a strong, negative, effect on the environment with the opening of the plant.
- Nuclear Fission Engineer who is currently working for the company that won the bid to build the plant.
- Nuclear Fusion Engineer who is working on an alternative solution to fission.
- State Senator who is running for re-election for a third term of office. Canastota is in the Senator's district.
- Canastota Mayor who is interested in the economic benefits of having a nuclear power plant in the city's backyard, but is also concerned about the health hazard.
- Once you have decided on which of the roles will be assigned to which team member, open the link for your role to read more information about your perspective.
- Read the information in the link to get a feel for your tasks. Analyze how your role relates to the other members on the panel.
- Brainstorm a list of the types of resources/information that you think would be useful to gain insights on nuclear power.
- Explore the "Resources" below (as well as any available at Media Center) to see which might match with your brainstormed list.
- Add any internet resources that you think might be valuable for your search. Be sure to keep a list of all references used in this project.
On the Net: Virtual Investigation
- Explore the resources that you think would be most appropriate for your branch.
- Collect (copy, paste and cite) relevant information to build your dossier (collection of facts). Make sure you know why each piece of data will help your position.
- Answer the "Status Report" and "Values Assessment" questions in your dossier.
As a Team of Experts
- Bring the best information together and examine it as a team.
- Each expert must explain the significance of his or her findings.
The "Action Plan"
Now you must discuss, persuade, argue, deal, and brainstorm a team action plan. As it says in your dossier, you (as an expert) want to find the best solution for your topic. The problem arises that what is good for business is not always good for the environment. What is good for the job rate is not always good for the health of the citizens. What's good for the state may not be good for the local community. The town is waiting for your report. (Note that if a reasonable amount of time has passed and no unanimous verdict has been reached, a Dissension Statement can be created - see "The Special Report" section, below.)
The Special Report Each Team member must submit their own individual report relating to their role. The Collective Team must create additional items jointly:
- An abstract which is an overview the problem and gives the group's decision in one paragraph or less.
- An Introductory Statement stating the nature of the problem to be addressed.
- A Joint Conclusion Statement stating the overall recommendation of the committee with regards to a nuclear power plant. If a minority of the Team disagrees with the group's consensus, a Dissension Statement can be written by the minority expressing the reasons for their disagreement.
- A list of references showing all relevant web sites and materials used in the preparation of the Special Report.
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission http://www.nrc.gov/
How can a nuclear power plant be economically beneficial to the community?
How would the local environment be affected by the presence of a nuclear power plant?
about Fusion Reactors, http://science.howstuffworks.com/fusion-reactor.htm
Are there alternative energy sources that would be better for the Canastota community?
Are there any health hazards intrinsic with having a nuclear power plant in the neighborhood?
Pros & Cons
Have there been any accidents in nuclear reactors?
Three Mile Island http://www.threemileisland.org/
Nine Mile Point Incident http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nuclear_power/nine-mile-point-1-ii.pdf