Nuclear Power Plant Isar, Germany

Spent nuclear fuel pool

Turbine of a nuclear plant

Fission

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 moderator

Neutron moderator

The moderator is a component that is part of nuclear reactors. It is located in the reactor core. The function of the moderator is to reduce the speed of neutrons in nuclear fission reactions.

During fission nuclear reactions, neutrons collide with fissile atoms (uranium and plutonium) present in the nuclear fuel causing fission. With each fission reaction, one or two neutrons are released at high speed.

The objective to maintain a chain fission reaction is that these neutrons hit other fissile atoms but at such a speed it is very difficult. The objective of…

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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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Nuclear Reactor

Nuclear Reactor

A nuclear reactor is a facility capable of initiating, controlling and maintaining nuclear reactions (usually nuclear fission) in chain that occur in the core of this installation.

The composition of the nuclear reactor is formed by the nuclear fuel, the refrigerant, the control elements, the structural materials and, in the case of a nuclear reactor, the nuclear moderator.

To build a nuclear reactor it is necessary to have enough nuclear fuel, which we call critical mass. Having enough critical mass means having enough fissile…

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Types Of Nuclear Reactors

Types Of Nuclear Reactors

Nuclear reactors can be classified according to different criteria. One of the criteria is the purpose for which they will be used. In this regard we distinguish the types of nuclear reactors used for civilian purposes, for military purposes or for research purposes.

Civil nuclear reactors use nuclear energy to generate power for electricity; military reactors create materials that can be used in nuclear weapons such as the atomic bomb; and research nuclear reactors used to develop weapons or energy production technology, for development purposes, for nuclear physics…

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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 Fuel

Nuclear Fuel

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

We refer to nuclear fuel both to the material (uranium, plutonium ...) and to the whole made with said nuclear material (fuel rods, nuclear material compositions and the moderator or any other combination.

The most known nuclear fuel is uranium because it is the most commonly used in nuclear fission reactors. Currently all nuclear reactors in production for the generation of electric power are…

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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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Nuclear Power Plant Working

Nuclear Power Plant Working

Nowadays, the main use given to nuclear energy is the generation of electric power. Nuclear power plants are responsible of doing this process. Almost all nuclear power plants in production are using nuclear fission since the nuclear fusion, despite being under development, is currently unfeasible.

The operation of a nuclear power plant is identical to the operation of a thermoelectric power plant working with fossil fuels like coal, oil or gas, except in the way of providing heat to the water for converting this one into steam. In nuclear reactors this process of producing heat is made…

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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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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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Accident in Tokaimura Nuclear Fuel Treatment Plant

Accident in Tokaimura Nuclear Fuel Treatment Plant

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

The nuclear accident of the installation took place on September 30, 1999, in the conversion building of the nuclear plant.

The installation consists of three auxiliary uranium conversion buildings:

  • One with an annual capacity of 220 tons of uranium per year for low enrichment (approximately 5%).
  • Another with…

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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Nuclear Energy

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Nuclear Energy

In this section we analyze the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy. Nevertheless, most organizations related to nuclear energy are already positioned for or against the use of nuclear energy. On this site we try to make an objective analysis about this question, giving all the relevant information and offering a space for different conclusions.

The advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy have made this alternative energy source one of the most controversial on the market today. Understanding the pros and cons of this energy source can help…

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Plutonium

Plutonium

Plutonium is a chemical element with symbol Pu and atomic number 94 which belongs to the actinide series of elements. Plutonium has 16 isotopes, all radioactive. The element is a silvery metal and has 5 different crystal structures.

Chemically plutonium is a very active material. You can form compounds with all nonmetals except the noble gases. The metal dissolves in acidic and reacts with water, but only moderately in comparison with the acid.

While you can find traces in nature, all isotopes of plutonium are of artificial origin.

Radioactivity plutonium

The more…

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Definition of energy

Definition of energy

Ability of a physical system to produce a job.

This definition, although it is the most widespread, can be misleading because of the vagueness of the term "capacity", and therefore, it is better to define the energy as what, when a work occurs, decreases in an amount equal to the work produced. Energy, then, is measured in the same units as labor.

History of the study of energy

The notion of energy appears for the first time from the investigations of Joule and Carnot on the conversion of heat in mechanical work and thanks to the theory of Helmholtz in which it connects…

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Control rods definition

Control rods definition

The control rods of nuclear reactors provide speed control nuclear fission reactions delas chain. It is cylindrical tubes made of a neutron absorbing material. This material may be boron carbide or alloys of silver, indium and cadmium.

Dimensions of the control rods are the same as those of the rods of nuclear fuel. They are used to provide a rapid means of control of the nuclear reaction.

The control rods to regulate the rate of nuclear reaction

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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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Chernobyl Nuclear Accident

Chernobyl Nuclear Accident

The nuclear accident in Chernobyl (1986) is by far the most serious nuclear accident in the history of nuclear energy. It was classified as level 7 (severe nuclear accident) of the INES scale, the highest value. Although it is the same level at the Fukushima nuclear accident was classified, the consequences of the Chernobyl accident were still far worse.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant is located near the town of Prypyat, 18km from the city of Chernobyl.

At the time of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident provided 4 reactors in operation and two more were under construction.

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