Per17_over - Preview of Period 17: Uses of Nuclear Energy...

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Preview of Period 17: Uses of Nuclear Energy 17.1 Nuclear Power Plants How do nuclear power plants differ from conventional power plants? What types of nuclear reactors exist? How do their safety features compare? 17.2 Nuclear Fuel What fuels a nuclear reactor? What controls the nuclear reaction? 17.3 Radioactive Waste How radioactive is the waste from nuclear reactors? How should radioactive waste be disposed of? 17-1
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Nuclear Fission Reactions Uranium-235 nuclei can spontaneously fission (split) The products of the fission of a U-235 nucleus are smaller fission fragments, neutrons and energy. Other U-235 nuclei absorb the neutrons. These U-235 nuclei fission and emit neutrons. This process of neutron absorption resulting in fission produces an exothermic chain reaction. Fuel for Conventional Nuclear Reactors Naturally-occurring uranium ore consists of two isotopes of uranium: ore is about 99.3% uranium-238 and only 0.7% uranium-235. Since conventional reactors use uranium-235 as fuel, naturally occurring ore must be enriched to decrease the percentage of uranium-238. 17-2
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Components of Conventional Nuclear Reactors a) Fuel rods filled with a mixture two isotopes of uranium: U-235 and U-238. b) Moderator (usually water or graphite) to slow the velocity of the fast-moving neutrons. Fuel rods are placed in the moderator. c) Control rods to absorb the neutrons and control the rate of the reaction. Control rods (usually cadmium or boron) can slow down or stop the reaction. d)
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Per17_over - Preview of Period 17: Uses of Nuclear Energy...

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