Act17_sol - 3/3/05 Activity 17 Solutions: Nuclear Energy...

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3/3/05 1 Activity 17 Solutions: Nuclear Energy Use As you watch the videos in class today, look for a pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear bias on the part of the video producers, narrators, and interviewers. Which ones had a very evident bias? While most of the video clips seem to have no blatant bias, a few do. The video clips of the breeder reactor (made in the 1960's) seem pro-nuclear, while Donahue seems anti-nuclear as does the clip of the Simpsons. The clip about nuclear waste disposal seems to have a pro-nuclear bias. 17.1 Electrical Energy from Nuclear Reactors 1) Fission Reactions a) What happens to a uranium-235 ( U 235 92 ) nucleus during a fission reaction? Fission involves the breaking apart of large nuclei into smaller nuclei. A uranium-235 nucleus splits into smaller fission fragments. b) What reaction products are released when a U-235 nucleus fissions? Fission fragments, fast-moving neutrons, and energy are released. c) What is a nuclear chain reaction? The neutrons released by a fissioning uranium-235 nucleus are slowed and absorbed by other U-235 nuclei, causing these nuclei to fission and release neutrons. 2) Components of Nuclear Fission Reactors a) What is the purpose of the moderator in a nuclear reactor? What are two of the substances that may be used as moderators? The moderator slows down neutrons so that these neutrons can be absorbed by uranium-235 nuclei, causing the nuclei to fission. b) What is the purpose of control rods in a nuclear reactor? Control rods absorb neutrons to slow down the rate of fission reactions. c) List three other components of a nuclear reactor. Fuel rods provide the uranium-235 nuclei. Coolant keeps the radioactive material from overheating. The containment system encloses the nuclear reactor and prevents radioactive material from escaping in the case of an accident. d) How is the thermal energy from uranium-235 fissions converted into electrical energy? A heat exchanger transfers thermal energy from the fission reactions to a container of water. The water is converted into steam. The steam pressure turns turbines, which spin magnets near coils of wire in the generator.
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3/3/05 2 3) Nuclear reactor fuel a) Which uranium isotope is most common in naturally occurring uranium ores? Uranium ore is about 99.3% uranium-238. b) Which isotope is required for fission reactions? Uranium-235 is required for fission reactors. c) What is meant by “enriched” uranium? Enriching uranium ore increases the percentage of uranium-235 by separating off and taking away uranium-238 from the naturally- occurring uranium. 17.2 Reactor Safety 4) Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor a) What was the result of the loss of coolant at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor? A mishandled safety exercise (exacerbated by a critical design flaw)
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Act17_sol - 3/3/05 Activity 17 Solutions: Nuclear Energy...

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