Nuclear Power Plant Isar, Germany

Spent nuclear fuel pool

Turbine of a nuclear plant

Proton

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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