Queen_1
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Does anyone have any really interesting EPQ topics??
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academiabuddy
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hi
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MagnumKoishi
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(Original post by Queen_1)
Does anyone have any really interesting EPQ topics??
Nuclear power!! There's so much to talk about- nuclear vs renewables and fossil fuels. Also don't forget nuclear fusion, discussing the future of that is great.

I'll be happy to enthusiastically give you points about this topic if you want, I love it

I did my EPQ this year "to what extent is nuclear fusion likely to replace fission and fossil fuels", and dropped one mark on it. So I'm in a position to give advice if you want
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Queen_1
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(Original post by MagnumKoishi)
Nuclear power!! There's so much to talk about- nuclear vs renewables and fossil fuels. Also don't forget nuclear fusion, discussing the future of that is great.

I'll be happy to enthusiastically give you points about this topic if you want, I love it

I did my EPQ this year "to what extent is nuclear fusion likely to replace fission and fossil fuels", and dropped one mark on it. So I'm in a position to give advice if you want
Yes pleaaaase that would amazing. It sounds super interesting. Researching about it would be fun!
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theeetimdoherty
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(Original post by MagnumKoishi)
Nuclear power!! There's so much to talk about- nuclear vs renewables and fossil fuels. Also don't forget nuclear fusion, discussing the future of that is great.

I'll be happy to enthusiastically give you points about this topic if you want, I love it

I did my EPQ this year "to what extent is nuclear fusion likely to replace fission and fossil fuels", and dropped one mark on it. So I'm in a position to give advice if you want
I'm not doing nuclear energy as my EPQ but hey I'd appreciate any EPQ tips you've got too.
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Queen_1
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(Original post by theeetimdoherty)
I'm not doing nuclear energy as my EPQ but hey I'd appreciate any EPQ tips you've got too.
I’m not doing anything physics either but it would actually be an interesting topic
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MagnumKoishi
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(Original post by Queen_1)
Yes pleaaaase that would amazing. It sounds super interesting. Researching about it would be fun!
For my EPQ, I provided arguments for the pros and cons of both fission and fusion, and also arguments for why we might need either at all- after all, aren't renewables safer?

-One point for fusion is its energy density. I went into the scientific reasons, but as you don't do physics it'd be a lot of extra effort for you. You can mention energy density without much explanation. The stats are 250kg of fusion fuels provide the same energy as 2,700,000 tonnes of coal, and 28 tonnes of fission fuel. Its very efficient, for reasons I won't explain here.

-Cost. Fission reactors are cheaper to build. Eg in 2009, the average was $9billion for a fissjon reactor. At around the same time, the estimated cost of the fusion reactor ITER was $17billjon.
However, fusion reactors are cheaper to run. An average nuclear fission plant costs around $27.9/MWh, when everything is taken into account. The estimated economy of a fusion reactor is $25.2/MWh- not that much less, but still worth considering. Plus, more of this cost is due to maintenance. This may well decrease as methods become more widely understood.

Safety- a big one. I did a couple of case studies on fission disasters. But then again, those were primarily due to human error- the technology carries no inherent risks (I added more scientific research here, you may or may not wish to).
Fusion on the other hand has no risk whatsoever. Sure, the inside of the reactor is as hot as the core of the sun. But the fuel is in such small amounts that if you touched it, you'd immediately cool it down (you would not get burned). Any contact from outside and the reaction will immediately stop.

Waste products- another big one. Fission produces radioactive materials that aren't easy to deal with, and large scale generation could produce a very problematic amount of it. More opportunity for science stuff (decay rates and such).
Fusion doesn't produce any waste products other than helium, so it has a huge advantage there.
Neither of them produce CO2, so they're immensely better than coal. Less global warming and such yay.

The fuels themselves. Fission uses stuff like uranium, which is mined. This will last for up to 30000 years if the best experimental reactor designs succeed (I did a big section on reactor design and fuel economy).
Fusion uses hydrogen. Literally just two isotopes of hydrogen, that can be found in seawater and bred from lithium (also in seawater). If extracted from seawater, this will last for 60 million years (lithium being the limiting factor). Another win for fusion.
Of course, fossil fuels will be running out within the next couple of generations. Both nuclears win here.

-Fusion's downfall- doesn't exist yet loll. It's experimental. I did another big section here, I'd encourage you to research the projects currently underway to achieve fusion. Start with ITER.

-A bit on public opinion. People don't like the sound of nuclear, even if its safe.

-Finally, why not renewables? Why bother constructing plants and extracting hydrogen and lithium from seawater, when solar panels and wind turbines exist?
1- reliability. Both nuclears can provide a highly reliable base load
2- efficiency. To match a single 1000MW power plant, 6660 wind turbines or 100km^2 of solar panels are needed. Do science stuff here if you wish.



I hope those are interesting enough. I'd encourage you to research all the points yourself and find sources etc, but by all means use this as a starting point if you choose to do the topic
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MagnumKoishi
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(Original post by theeetimdoherty)
I'm not doing nuclear energy as my EPQ but hey I'd appreciate any EPQ tips you've got too.
Get a lot of sources. The more, the better, even if they repeat points. Eg if you have two sources that give two points (same as each other) each, quote one source for each point. They seem to put emphasis on lots of research, so follow on. I had about 40 sources in the end, but some people in my class had over 80 (a bit excessive imo).

Start writing as early as possible, and don't be afraid to fit your research around your report. At school it was implied I should do all the research, then all the writing. This is bad. It's much better to start writing early, then research things as you go along since your research will be more focused.

Plan and document the things you do weekly. Apparently, they may give you some marks if you come up with weekly plans and then document what you did.
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Queen_1
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(Original post by MagnumKoishi)
For my EPQ, I provided arguments for the pros and cons of both fission and fusion, and also arguments for why we might need either at all- after all, aren't renewables safer?

-One point for fusion is its energy density. I went into the scientific reasons, but as you don't do physics it'd be a lot of extra effort for you. You can mention energy density without much explanation. The stats are 250kg of fusion fuels provide the same energy as 2,700,000 tonnes of coal, and 28 tonnes of fission fuel. Its very efficient, for reasons I won't explain here.

-Cost. Fission reactors are cheaper to build. Eg in 2009, the average was $9billion for a fissjon reactor. At around the same time, the estimated cost of the fusion reactor ITER was $17billjon.
However, fusion reactors are cheaper to run. An average nuclear fission plant costs around $27.9/MWh, when everything is taken into account. The estimated economy of a fusion reactor is $25.2/MWh- not that much less, but still worth considering. Plus, more of this cost is due to maintenance. This may well decrease as methods become more widely understood.

Safety- a big one. I did a couple of case studies on fission disasters. But then again, those were primarily due to human error- the technology carries no inherent risks (I added more scientific research here, you may or may not wish to).
Fusion on the other hand has no risk whatsoever. Sure, the inside of the reactor is as hot as the core of the sun. But the fuel is in such small amounts that if you touched it, you'd immediately cool it down (you would not get burned). Any contact from outside and the reaction will immediately stop.

Waste products- another big one. Fission produces radioactive materials that aren't easy to deal with, and large scale generation could produce a very problematic amount of it. More opportunity for science stuff (decay rates and such).
Fusion doesn't produce any waste products other than helium, so it has a huge advantage there.
Neither of them produce CO2, so they're immensely better than coal. Less global warming and such yay.

The fuels themselves. Fission uses stuff like uranium, which is mined. This will last for up to 30000 years if the best experimental reactor designs succeed (I did a big section on reactor design and fuel economy).
Fusion uses hydrogen. Literally just two isotopes of hydrogen, that can be found in seawater and bred from lithium (also in seawater). If extracted from seawater, this will last for 60 million years (lithium being the limiting factor). Another win for fusion.
Of course, fossil fuels will be running out within the next couple of generations. Both nuclears win here.

-Fusion's downfall- doesn't exist yet loll. It's experimental. I did another big section here, I'd encourage you to research the projects currently underway to achieve fusion. Start with ITER.

-A bit on public opinion. People don't like the sound of nuclear, even if its safe.

-Finally, why not renewables? Why bother constructing plants and extracting hydrogen and lithium from seawater, when solar panels and wind turbines exist?
1- reliability. Both nuclears can provide a highly reliable base load
2- efficiency. To match a single 1000MW power plant, 6660 wind turbines or 100km^2 of solar panels are needed. Do science stuff here if you wish.



I hope those are interesting enough. I'd encourage you to research all the points yourself and find sources etc, but by all means use this as a starting point if you choose to do the topic
Reading this is really interesting but since I don’t do physics I probably won’t understand much of it to have a strong argument for and against it. I will definitely pass it on the a friend who is doing physics though.
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Shami786
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Can you attach it so we can have an incite as too what a perfect epq looks like
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