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NEW! Grades 6-12: Five, $500 Prizes for Research Papers Related to Water and Energy Issues!

NEW!  Grades 6-12

Five, $500 Prizes for Research Papers Related to Water and Energy Issues!

Due February 1, 2016

Arizona Water and Energy Prize

Sponsored By: Arizona Energy-Education Fund, Waste Management Symposium and Arizona Sonora Water

Make good use of your background research for your SARSEF project!  Of the following five research questions, choose one. Produce a typed research paper of 15-20 pages (maximum), double-spaced, answering the questions presented. Citations are required. The best paper submitted in each category will be awarded $500.

Research Question

  1. One way for Arizona to avoid the drought is to develop desalinization plants to process water. Where would these plants be located?  If Arizona’s population doubles by 2025, how many desalinization plants would be needed?  Desalinization plants use enormous quantities of electricity. Where would the energy come from? What is the estimated cost? Are there political issues involved?
  2. One way for Arizona to avoid the drought is to transport water from locations that have surplus water to Arizona or areas adjacent to Arizona.  From which locals would you transport water?  How would you transport water? To where would you transport water?  What is the estimated cost of development and transport?  Are there political issues involved?
  3. Water is simply two molecules of hydrogen plus one molecule of oxygen. What if you wanted to commercially produce water by combining hydrogen and oxygen in the right proportions? How would you go about producing water?  Where would you obtain hydrogen molecules? Where would you obtain oxygen molecules? How much energy is required for each gallon of water produced? What is the most efficient type of energy? What is the cost of production? Who is your customer?  Is this idea even possible?
  4. An atmospheric water generator (AWG) is a device that extracts water from humid ambient air. Water vapor in the air is condensed by cooling the air below its dew point, exposing the air to desiccants or pressurizing the air. Unlike a dehumidifier, an AWG is designed to render the water potable. Your assignment is to design a AWG of sufficient size to supply a family of four with a continuous water supply?  Describe how you would approach this problem? How much energy would the AWG use? What kind of energy is most efficient?  How large an AWG is required?  How and where would the family store its water? What if the family had surplus water? What is the estimated cost of building the AWG? What is the estimated cost of operating the AWG?
  5. The United States does not recycle spent nuclear fuel. President Carter, in 1977, started a prohibition on nuclear recycling in the USA. Since then, 70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel has accumulated across the country at 103 commercial nuclear reactors.  Due to President Carter’s above noted recycling prohibition policy, the US federal government has been looking for a place to bury all spent nuclear fuel. The plan to do this was Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but local public opinion has stopped this from being implemented.  France has 58 reactors that produce 80 % of that country’s electricity. The US gets 20 % of its electricity from nuclear reactors. France has a major spent nuclear fuel recycling facility at Cap La Hague, near the English Channel. The French recycle 96% of spent nuclear fuel into new useable fuel rods to power their reactors.  Should the US recycle spent nuclear fuel and if so, should Arizona host the facility like the above noted facility in France?  Yes or No.
  • If you answered “yes” to the question, please answer the following questions: What are the overall pros and cons of recycling spent nuclear fuel from an economic and societal viewpoint?  Where would you site the recycling facility?  Why did you choose this location?
  • If you answered “no” to the question, please answer the following questions:  What are the overall pros and cons of recycling spent nuclear fuel from an economic and societal viewpoint?  What do you recommend the United States do with the existing 70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel currently in inventory?  Do you consider the 70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel a national security issue? Why?

Email completed papers by February 1, 2016 to:

director@sarsef.org

Mail or Drop Off completed research papers to:

SARSEF

3247 N. Christmas Ave

Tucson, AZ 85716

Questions: Contact director@sarsef.org

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