ES 12_2_09 Nuclear Energy

ES 12_2_09 Nuclear Energy - Forced Radioactivity Fission...

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12/7/09 1 Forced Radioactivity Fission Radioactive isotopes “break up” into 2 pieces when struck by neutrons, daughter products weigh less than original isotope (matter converted to energy), neutrons and energy given off • Nuclear power plants, atom bomb • Need special, “fissile” isotopes like U-238 – (Note fissile = fissionable = able to be split) Fission Chain Reaction
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12/7/09 2 Nuclear Energy for Electricity • Nuclear Power Plants – Control rate of fission chain reaction • Heat generated high energy steam spins turbines generates electricity
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12/7/09 3 Light-water reactors (85% world, 100% US) • Core – 35-70,000 fuel rods packed with pellets – 1 pellet = 1 ton of coal • Uranium oxide fuel – Enriched Uranium fuel (Increase U-235 to U-238 ratio) • Control Rods – Moved in and out of core to absorb neutrons (regulate)
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12/7/09 4 Breeder Reactors • More efficient, but more dangerous • Produces at least as much fuel as it consumes • Converts non-fissionable U-238 into
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ES 12_2_09 Nuclear Energy - Forced Radioactivity Fission...

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