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Spent nuclear fuel pool

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Nuclear fuel

Nuclear fuel

Nuclear fuel is the material used for the generation of nuclear energy. It is a material that can be fissioned or fused depending on whether its use is nuclear fission or nuclear fusion.

We refer to nuclear fuel both to the material (uranium, plutonium, etc.) and to the set made with nuclear material (fuel rods, the make-up of nuclear material, and the moderator or any other combination.

The most widely used nuclear fuel is uranium because it is the most suitable in nuclear fission reactors. Currently, all nuclear reactors in production for the generation of electrical energy are fission. At another level, plutonium is also used as a nuclear fuel.

Tritium and deuterium…

Last review: November 28, 2022

Chernobyl radiation, levels of radiation after the desaster

Chernobyl radiation, levels of radiation after the desaster

The Chernobyl accident (Chernobyl) was a nuclear accident, considered the most serious in history. It occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine (then in the Soviet Union ) on Saturday, April 26, 1986. It was the worst nuclear accident in history, followed by the Fukushima disaster, even though both reached the seventh level in the INES scale.

That day, in a sudden increase in power in reactor core number 4 of the plant, it took place an explosion of the hydrogen accumulated within the nucleus by overheating.

Due to the lack of a containment building at the nuclear power plant, a plume of radioactive rain was scattered over several areas of the Soviet Union and…

Last review: June 16, 2021

Thomson atomic model

Thomson atomic model

The Thomson model is a model of the atom proposed in 1904 by Joseph John Thomson. This new nuclear model was an evolution of Dalton's atomic model.

Sir Joseph John Thomson was a British physicist and Nobel Laureate in Physics. He discovered the electron before discovering the atomic nucleus, the first subatomic particle of the atomic structure. 

This new atomic theory from Thomson attempted to explain two then-known properties of atoms: 

  • Electrons are negatively charged particles.

  • Atoms do not have a neutral electric charge.

Thomson’s plum pudding model of an atom

Thomson's model has been compared (but…

Last review: May 31, 2021

Nuclear stress test, what it is and side effects

Nuclear stress test, what it is and side effects

A nuclear stress test is a nuclear cardiology test that allows doctors to view images of your heart with a special camera. The purpose of a stress test is to identify problems with the blood supply to the heart muscle or the coronary arteries that supply it with blood.

It uses a radioactive dye and a machine to create images that show blood flow to the heart. The test analyzes measures blood flow while doing sports and at rest. It can identify problem areas with poor blood flow or damaged parts of the heart.

A radioactive tracer is injected into the patient intravenously to capture two sets of heart images: one during stress and one while at rest.

Sometimes the nuclear…

Last review: May 29, 2021

What are the cons of nuclear energy?

What are the cons of nuclear energy?

The use of nuclear energy implies certain disadvantages that must be taken into account.

The primary use of nuclear energy is the generation of electricity. However, nuclear technology is also used in the military, medical or environmental fields, among others.

The primary use of nuclear energy is power generation. The construction of nuclear power plants makes it possible to generate electricity without emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

This type of energy has pros and cons. The main drawbacks of atomic energy are:

  • Risk of possible nuclear accidents.

  • Difficulty managing nuclear waste.

  • Limited lifespan…

    Last review: May 22, 2021

Is nuclear energy a renewable or non-renewable resource?

Is nuclear energy a renewable or non-renewable resource?

Nuclear energy is not a renewable source because the nuclear fuel used does not regenerate itself.

Nuclear energy comes from the fission of uranium atoms. Uranium is a naturally occurring material. However, nature does not produce the tons of uranium that man consumes to produce electrical energy.

On the other hand, uranium is not a fossil fuel either. Uranium is an element present in some terrestrial rocks that do not derive from a "fossilization" process comparable to oil, natural gas, and coal.

When is an energy source considered renewable?

It is considered a renewable resource when the energy resources to use it are renewable or inexhaustible on a human scale.…

Last review: May 21, 2021

Nuclear waste storage

Nuclear waste storage

The nuclear industry generates radioactive waste that must be processed not to pose a risk to human health and harm to the environment.

Nuclear waste management works depending on its radioactive activity. In this way, they are distinguished:

  • Medium and low-level nuclear waste.

  • High-level nuclear waste.

Low and medium-level waste storage

Low and medium-level nuclear waste is stored using natural and artificial barriers. In this way, nuclear waste is isolated from the environment until its radioactivity falls to harmless levels.

This type of waste is transported and stored in facilities prepared for it. Most are cleaning…

Last review: May 15, 2021

Nuclear waste transportation

Nuclear waste transportation

The nuclear power industry generates nuclear waste that must be adequately treated. Therefore, radioactive waste must be transported in specialized storage centers.

The transport of radioactive material should minimize the odds of a nuclear accident occurring. In an accident, the objective is to mitigate its effects, avoid the dispersion of radioactive material, and avoid possible impacts on human health.

For the transport of waste originating from nuclear reactors, such as nuclear power plants, they use 40-ton vehicles. In atomic waste from hospitals, laboratories, and research centers, they use smaller vehicles.

Who are the official authorities responsible for nuclear…

Last review: May 12, 2021

Hisashi Ouchi, a victim of nuclear radiation from Tokaimura, Japan

Hisashi Ouchi, a victim of nuclear radiation from Tokaimura, Japan

Hisashi Ouchi was the victim who has been exposed to the highest dose of nuclear radiation in history.

The incident took place in Tokaimura on 30 September 1999 - 130 km northeast of Tokyo, Japan. The tragedy occurred at a JCO plant (Japan Nuclear Fuel Conversion Company) nuclear fuel factory and directly involved three plant workers. Authorities evacuated 300,000 people from the closest areas.

The Tokaimura nuclear accident is the fourth most serious nuclear accident in history after those of the nuclear power plants of Three Mile Island (USA), Chernobyl (present-day Ukraine,…

Last review: May 7, 2021

Tokaimura Nuclear Accident

Tokaimura Nuclear Accident

In the town of Tōkai-mura (Japan ), there were two nuclear accidents in the Japanese nuclear industry. Both accidents at the nuclear plant occurred in the ’90s: 1997 and 1999.

The uranium fuel treatment facility is in Tokaimura (Japan), 120km northeast of Tokyo, in the Ibaraki Prefecture. JCO company is currently the owner.

The principal facility's nuclear accident occurred on September 30, 1999, in the nuclear plant's conversion building.

The accident reached level 4 according to the INES scale.

How were the facilities in Tokaimura?

The facility consists of three ancillary uranium conversion buildings:

  • One with an annual capacity…

    Last review: May 6, 2021

Mechanical energy examples in everyday life

Mechanical energy examples in everyday life

Mechanical energy is the energy that has the ability to do work. It is the sum of the kinetic energy and the potential energy of an object. According to the principle of conservation of energy, the sum of both forms of energy remains constant.

Kinetic energy depends on speed; it is the energy of motion. On the other hand, we can consider the potential energy as energy stored. This stored mechanical energy depends on:

  • gravity (gravitational potential energy)

  • or the elasticity of a material (elastic potential energy), for example, the potential energy stored in a spring.

The unit of mechanical energy in the international system is…

Last review: May 4, 2021