Fisfus - Note-A-Rific: Fission & Fusion Nuclear Energy...

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Nuclear Energy Start talking to someone about nuclear energy, and they’ll probably think of two things: nuclear bombs, and the towers of a nuclear power plant (like on the Simpsons!). Most people view nuclear energy as something to be afraid of, but like most things, once you understand it a lot of the fear disappears. There are two main types of nuclear reactions that can be discussed: Fission : The process of causing a larger atom to split into multiple smaller atoms, releasing energy in the process. This is the system that we use in nuclear power plants. It is relatively easy to do, but also leaves us with lots of nuclear waste that must be stored safely for thousands of years. Fusion : The process of causing smaller atoms to fuse together into a larger atom, in the process releasing energy. This is the process that drives our sun, and all other suns. We can do it under the right conditions in a lab, but we end up putting in more energy than we get out. The left over products of these reactions are safe, which is why a lot of research is going into developing fusion reactors. We’ll be spending some time looking at the details of both of these processes. Fission Reactors Fusion Fission The most typical fuel used in a fission reactor is Uranium-235. In 1939 four German scientists discovered that Uranium-235 would become very unstable if it gained an extra neutron (forming Uranium-236. Uranium-236 was so unstable that a fraction of a second later it will split to form two smaller atoms, and in the process release energy. Here are two common reactions that happen… and Some things to notice… 1. Both reactions start the same when we add a single neutron to Uranium-235, which form Uranium-236 for a split second.
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2. Barium-141, Krypton-92, Xenon-140, and Strontium-94 are the smaller atoms that Uranium-236 could split into. 3.
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Fisfus - Note-A-Rific: Fission & Fusion Nuclear Energy...

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