Key Points The energy released by nuclear processes in civilian reactor involves fission of uranium; Uranium must be enriched in 235 U to facilitate this process; Production of a nuclear bomb requires a higher level of enrichment; Background to current unease as to the future of nuclear energy; Economics of nuclear power.
In burning methane (CH4), the primary component of natural gas, the net reaction may be written as The basic equivalence of mass and energy expressed through the equation
The protons and neutrons in a nucleus must be bound together. When they are bound together, the combined system must transition to a lower energy state. Assume that the binding energy is given by B. Since energy and mass are related according to E=Mc 2 , it follows that the binding process is associated with a reduction in mass equal to B/c 2 .
If the mass of the nucleus is denoted by M with the masses of the protons and neutrons given by m p and m n respectively, and if we assume that the nucleus includes n p protons and n n neutrons, and the binding energy is given by B, it follows that Nuclear Fission c = 299,792,458 m/s ≈ 3.0 x10 8 m/s
Energy Produced per Reaction Mass balance per 235 U in the reaction: Left Hand Side: 1.67 49× 10 -27 + 3.9030 × 10 -25 = 3.9198 × 10 -25 (kg) Right Hand Side: 2.3899 × 10 -25 + 1.4765 × 10 -25 + 5.0248 × 10 -27 = 3.9167 × 10 -25 (kg) Δm=3.0888 × 10 -28 (kg) Energy = Δm×C 2 = (3.0888 × 10 -28 ) × (3.0 x10 8 ) 2 = 2.78 ×10 -11 J = 173 MeV=2.63 ×10 -14 BTU
- Fall '10
- Nuclear Fission, Uranium