We can obtain energy manipulating one or several nuclei of atoms throught two different methods: attaching the cores from different atoms (the nuclear fusion) or splitting a given atom nuclei (the nuclear fission).
In nuclear energy, nuclear fission is the action through which the nucleus of an atom is divided. The core forms different fragments with a mass equivalent to half of the original mass and two or three neutrons.
The total mass of the fragments is smaller than the original…
A nuclear reactor is an installation capable of initiating, controlling and maintaining nuclear reactions (usually nuclear fission) chain that occur in the core of this facility.
The composition of the nuclear reactor is formed by the nuclear fuel, coolant, control elements, structural materials and, in the case in question a thermal nuclear reactor, the moderator.
Nuclear reactors can be classified as thermal reactors and fast reactors.
Thermal reactors are those which function by delaying (moderating) the fastest neutrons or increasing the proportion of fissile atoms.…
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 An atom of a nucleus and of electrons that surround this nucleus. In turn, a nucleus consists of protons and neutrons. A proton has a positive charge. A neutron has…
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…
A neutron is a subatomic particle contained in the atomic nucleus. It has no net electric charge, unlike the proton that has a positive electric charge. The number of neutrons in the atomic nucleus of an element determines the isotope to which it is a part. Discovery of the neutron
The first clue to the existence of the neutron occurred in 1930, when Walther Bothe and Becker, H. found that when alpha radiation fell on elements such as lithium and boron, a new form of radiation was emitted.
Initially, this radiation was believed to be a type of gamma radiation, but it was…
Neutron moderator is a component part of the nuclear reactors. It is located in the reactor core. The function of the moderator is to reduce the speed of the neutrons in a nuclear fission reaction.
During nuclear reactions fission neutrons collide with fissile atoms (
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 of steam and with the steam to drive a turbine that will generate electricity.
The difference between the different types of electrical installations is that the power 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…
The Greek philosopher Democritus of Abdera was the first in history to give a definition of atom as the smallest constituent of matter, in the V century B.C. The term "atom" is a Greek word that means "not divisible". But later, with the arrival of nuclear fission it's possible to split atoms to…
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
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