Nuclear Power Plant Isar, Germany

Spent nuclear fuel pool

Turbine of a nuclear plant

Isotopes

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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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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Nuclear Energy and the Environment

Nuclear Energy and the Environment

The main use of nuclear energy is the generation of electrical energy in nuclear power plants. If, however, you are also familiar with other uses in the civil field. One of them is the applications of nuclear energy related to the environment.

Although the popularity of nuclear energy is very low due to the effects produced in nuclear accidents such as Fukushima or Chernobyl, there are applications of nuclear energy to work in favor of the environment.

In these applications we highlight the following:

  • Improve the greenhouse effect problem
  • Improve…

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Radioactivity

Radioactivity

We define radioactivity as the spontaneous emission of particles (alpha particles, beta particles, neutrons) or radiations (range, K capture), or both at the same time, coming from the disintegration of certain nuclides that form them, due to an arrangement in its internal structure.

Radioactive decay occurs in unstable atomic nuclei, that is, those that do not have enough binding energy to keep the nucleus together due to an excess of protons or neutrons.

Radioactivity can be natural or artificial. In natural radioactivity, the substance already has it in the natural state. In…

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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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Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is defined as the branch of medicine that uses radioactive isotopes, nuclear radiation, electromagnetic variations of the components of the atomic nucleus and related biophysical techniques for the prevention, diagnosis, therapy and medical research.

Clinical applications of radiopharmaceuticals cover virtually all medical specialties.

Nuclear medicine is closely related to several basic and applied sciences such as physics, chemistry, electronics, cybernetics and pharmacy, and other branches of medicine and physiology, pathophysiology, radiology and other diagnostic…

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Uses of Nuclear Technology

Uses of Nuclear Technology

The main use of nuclear energy is the production of electrical energy. Nuclear power plants are responsible for generating electricity. Nuclear fission reactions are generated in the nuclear reactors of the nuclear power plants. With these reactions, thermal energy is obtained that will be transformed into mechanical energy and later into electrical energy.

However, there are many other uses in which nuclear energy is used directly or indirectly.

Working with different isotopes of the same element, you can use nuclear technology for other uses in various fields:

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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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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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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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Radionuclides

Radionuclides

In nuclear medicine, a given radionuclide is administered to the patient, with the aim of investigating a specific physiological phenomenon by means of a special detector, usually a gamma camera, located outside the body. The injected radionuclide is selectively deposited in certain organs (thyroid, kidney, etc.). The size, shape and functioning of these organs can be seen from the gamma camera. Most of these procedures are diagnostic, although in some cases radionuclides are administered for therapeutic purposes.

The…

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