PHYS 101 Ch 16 essay

PHYS 101 Ch 16 essay - to fusion reactors much less nuclear...

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11/20/07 PHYS 101-02 Speculate on and list some of the worldwide changes that are likely to follow the advent of successful fusion reactors and include in the discussion why breeder reactors never attained world-wide acceptance. Though nuclear fusion reactors haven’t been effectively utilized in our technology thus far, the possibility of their creation brings great promise to the current state of our world. Great change for the better would become inevitable as soon as these reactors could be put into place. First, it can be fueled by sources abundant in nature, allowing us to maintain natural resources previously used to fuel the old reactors (i.e. uranium) as well as benefiting the economy by not spending great deals of money once used to locate and prepare these resources. This alternate form of fuel would also require a much smaller quantity, making the amount of radiation the fusion reactors would give off almost unnoticeable in relation to the amount we already live with. Finally, by switching
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Unformatted text preview: to fusion reactors, much less nuclear waste would be produced. Since these fusion reactors are still a little ways off from being completed, other methods of performing the same tasks have been experimented with. One of these methods is one that has caused great controversy, called a breeder reactor. Though it would provide essentially the same end result, the way in which it would attain this result could create big problems. Breeder reactors convert uranium-238 (most commonly-occurring uranium) to plutonium-239. Unfortunately, plutonium-239 is incredibly toxic, to the point that if even a trace amount is inhaled, it would cause lung cancer. To make matters worse, its half-life is about 24,000 years, making it seemingly impossible to get rid of assuming a lot of it was to be created. This issue makes the desire for functional fusion reactors even more prevalent. References: [1] [2]
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This note was uploaded on 04/30/2008 for the course PHYS 101 taught by Professor 1 during the Spring '08 term at Tulane.

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PHYS 101 Ch 16 essay - to fusion reactors much less nuclear...

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