Nuclear Power Plant Isar, Germany

Spent nuclear fuel pool

Turbine of a nuclear plant

Atom

Atom

Atom

The atom is a structure in which matter is organized in the physical world or in nature. The atoms form the molecules, while the atoms in turn are formed by subatomic constituents such as protons (with positive charge), neutrons (without charge) and electrons. (with negative charge).

In a graphical way, what is an atom? Let's imagine that we have a piece of iron. We split it. We still have two pieces of iron but smaller ones. We will start them again, again ... Each time we will have more smaller pieces until a moment will come, in which if we go back to…

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Atomic theory

Atomic theory

In physics and chemistry, the atomic theory is a scientific theory of the nature of matter, which states that matter is composed of units called atoms. Atomic theory began as a philosophical concept in ancient Greece and entered the mainstream of the nineteenth century when discoveries in the field of chemistry showed that matter really behaves as if it were an atom.

The word atom originates in the atomic adjective of the ancient Greek, which means "indivisible". As explained in the history of nuclear energy. Nineteenth-century chemists began to use the term in relation to the growing…

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History of Nuclear Energy

History of Nuclear Energy

To explain the history of nuclear energy we could distinguish three major stages:

  • Physical and chemical scientific studies of the elements.
  • The development of the nuclear bomb during World War II.
  • Use of nuclear energy in the civil field.

Scientific studies cover this whole period since the first Greek philosophers began to define atoms, until the development of the first nuclear bomb. In this process, different scientists discover the presence of electrons, neutrons and protons and properties that make one atom more radioactive than another.

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Structure of the atom

Structure of the atom

The basis of everything related to nuclear energy lies in the atom, since nuclear technology is based on the use of the internal energy contained in atoms. For this reason, to understand how nuclear reactions occur (nuclear fission or nuclear fusion) it is useful to understand how an atom is structured.

An atom is the smallest constituent unit of ordinary matter that has the properties of a chemical element.

The atom is composed of a nucleus and one or more electrons linked to the nucleus. The nucleus is made of one or more protons and, typically, a similar number of…

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Atomic nucleus

Atomic nucleus

The atomic nucleus is the small central part of the atom, with positive electric charge and in which most of the mass of the atom is concentrated. It was discovered by Ernest Ruthenford in 1911. After the discovery of the neutron, in 1932, the atomic nucleus model was quickly developed by Dmitri Ivanenko and Werner Heisenberg.

The main subatomic particles of the nuclei of atoms are protons and neutrons or nucleons (except that of ordinary or own hydrogen, which contains only one proton). The same chemical element is characterized by the number of protons in the nucleus that…

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Atomic Energy

Atomic Energy

Atomic energy comes from the atom, it is the energy that holds together neutrons and protons of the nuclei of atoms. It is also known how nuclear energy, which comes from the nucleus. The name nuclear energy is used because most of the energy of an atom resides in its nucleus.

Two parts of the atom, the nucleus and the crust are differentiated. In the cortex, an indeterminate number of electrons orbit around the nucleus. The nucleus is composed of an indeterminate number of neutrons and protons. The amount of protons in the nucleus will determine the element that the atom is treated,…

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Atomic number

Atomic number

The atomic number is a physical and chemical concept related to the structure of the atoms of each element. The total number of protons (elementary positive charges) of the nucleus of a given atom is treated. It is represented by the letter Z. The conventional symbol Z possibly comes from the German word Z ahl which means number.

The atomic number is used to classify elements within the periodic table of elements.

The sum of the atomic number Z and the number of neutrons N gives the mass number A of an atom. Atoms with the same atomic number Z, but different numbers of neutrons…

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Molecule

Molecule

A molecule is a set of chemically bonded atoms. The electric charge of the molecules is neutral.

There is a definition of an older molecule that is less general and less precise: "A molecule is the smallest part of a substance that can have an independent and stable existence while preserving its chemical properties and certain physicochemical properties." By this definition there could be molecules with a single atom.

Types of molecules

Molecules can be formed in two different ways:

  • Discrete molecules: molecules may consist of a well-defined number of atoms…

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Ion

Ion

In physics and chemistry, an ion is an atom or molecule that does not have a neutral electrical charge. A cation with a positive electric charge is called a cation, and an ion with a negative electric charge is anion.

The process of winning or losing electrons (with respect to the neutral atom or molecule) is called ionization. Cations and anions are usually represented by the symbol of the corresponding atom and the symbol "+" or "-", respectively. If the number of electrons gained or lost is greater than one, this is also indicated.

The cations and anions are…

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What is Nuclear Energy?

What is Nuclear Energy?

What is nuclear energy? Nuclear energy is the internal energy in the atomic nucleus, that is, the central part of an atom. Atoms are the smallest particles in which a material can be divided. The nucleus of an atom is composed of two subparticles: neutrons and protons. These subparticles are held together due to energy links. At the moment in which these bonds are modified, a large amount of thermal energy is released in the form of heat.

Nuclear technology deals with the use of this internal energy for a wide variety of applications. The most well-known…

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Proton

Proton

Definition of proton

A proton is a subatomic particle with positive electric charge that is inside the atomic nucleus of atoms. The number of protons in the atomic nucleus determines the atomic number of an element, as indicated in the periodic table of the elements.

The proton has charge +1 (or, alternatively, 1.602 x 10 -19  coulombs), exactly the opposite of the charge -1 that contains the electron. In mass, however, there is no competition - the mass of the proton is approximately 1,836 times greater than that of an electron.

The…

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Nuclear Fission

Nuclear Fission

Nuclear fission is the physical-chemical reaction through which the nucleus of an atom is split. In the main interest of the fission reactions is that by this operation a large amount of energy is obtained. Nuclear energy is the energy contained in the nucleus of an atom and the energy that is obtained is thermal energy, energy in the form of heat.

The other form of exploitation is through nuclear fusion reactions. In this case, the process is inverse, fusing two different nuclei forming a single atomic nucleus.

After the fission of the atomic nucleus we obtain…

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Neutron

Neutron

A neutron is a subatomic particle that is part of the atom (along with the proton and the electron). Neutrons and protons form the atomic nucleus. Neutrons have no net electric charge, unlike the proton that has a positive electric charge.

The difference in the number of neutrons in the nucleus of an atom does not imply the variation of the nature of the atom itself, but it does determine the isotope to which it is a part.

In nuclear energy the concept "uranium enrichment" refers to the alteration of the number of neutrons in the atomic nucleus in order to obtain another…

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Isotope

Isotope

Isotopes are atoms whose nuclei have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons. Not all atoms of the same element are identical and each of these varieties corresponds to a different isotope.

Each isotope of the same element have the same atomic number (Z) but each has a different mass number (A). The atomic number is the number of protons in the atomic nucleus of the atom. The mass number is the sum of neutrons and protons of the core. This means that different isotopes of the same atom differ from each other only by the number of neutrons.

The items that can…

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Electron

Electron

An electron is a stable negatively charged elementary particle which is one of the fundamental components of the atom. For this reason it can also be defined as a subatomic particle. It is part of the group of leptons.

Electrons may appear in the free state (without being attached to any atom) or attached to the nucleus of an atom. There are electrons in atoms spherical layers of different radious. These spherical layers represent energy levels. The larger spherical shell, the greater the energy contained in the electron.

In the electrical conductors, the current flows results…

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Alpha Particle

Alpha Particle

Alpha particles or alpha rays are a form of radiation with high ionizing, corpuscular energy and with a low penetration capacity due to the high cross section. Alpha particles consist of two protons and two neutrons joined by a strong force. From a chemical point of view, alpha particles can also be identified with the symbol 4 He ++. Along with the 3 He isotope, the alpha particles belong to the elion family. The beta decay is mediated by a weak force, while the alpha decay is mediated by a strong force.

Definition of alpha particle

An alpha particle is a…

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Nuclear Power Plant

Nuclear Power Plant

A nuclear power plant is a facility for obtaining electrical energy using nuclear energy.

Its operation is similar to that of a thermal power plant or that of a solar thermal plant: from a source of energy thermodynamics is used to obtain heat, with the heat to get steam and with the steam to drive a turbine that will generate electricity.

The difference between the different types of electrical installations is in the energy source: a nuclear power plant uses the heat released in the nuclear fission reactions of certain atoms, in a thermal power station the heat source (thermal…

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Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is the energy contained in the nucleus of atoms. Nuclear energy is used in multiple applications (see applications of nuclear energy), but the best known application is the generation of electricity.

The term nuclear energy is often used to refer to the electrical energy generated by nuclear power plants.

One of the ways of harnessing…

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Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear fusion is a nuclear reaction through which two light nuclei of atoms, usually hydrogen and its isotopes (deuterium and tritium), are combined forming a heavier nucleus. This binding is usually accompanied by the emission of particles (in case of deuterium nuclei one neutron is emitted). This nuclear fusion reaction releases or absorbs a lot of energy in the form of gamma rays and kinetic energy of the emitted particles.This large amount of energy transforms matter to a plasma state.

The nuclear fusion reactions can emit or absorb…

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Uranium - nuclear fuel

Uranium - nuclear fuel

Uranium is the most commonly used nuclear fuel in nuclear fission reactions. It is a natural element that can be found in nature. However, in order to be able to use uranium in a nuclear reactor it must undergo some treatment.

To know the peculiarities that make uranium so different from the other substances we must first consider some basic nuclear physics.

Basic physical considerations of uranium

An atom of a nucleus and electrons surrounding this nucleus. In turn, a nucleus consists of protons and neutrons. A proton has a positive charge. A neutron has no electric charge…

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Beta Particle

Beta Particle

A beta particle (β) is an electron that shoots out of a radioactive event.

By the law of Fajans, if an atom emits a beta particle, its electric charge increases by a positive unit and the atomic mass number does not change. This is because the mass or mass number only represents the number of protons and neutrons, which in this case the total number is not affected, since a neutron "loses" an electron, but becomes a proton, ie , a neutron becomes a proton and therefore the total number of atomic mass (protons plus neutrons) does not vary.

The interaction of beta particles…

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