Nuclear Power Plant Isar, Germany

Spent nuclear fuel pool

Turbine of a nuclear plant

Radioactive

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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Scale INES - International Nuclear Event Scale

Scale INES - International Nuclear Event Scale

Just as the Richter scale is used to quantify the intensity of an earthquake or the Celsius scale to measure temperature, the INES scale indicates the importance of events derived from a wide range of activities, covering the industrial and medical radiation sources, the exploitation of nuclear energy facilities and transport of radioactive material.

The nuclear events can be classified into the INES scale in seven levels. The events of levels 1-3 are called "incidents", while in the case of levels 4-7 are called "accidents." Each level rise in the scale indicates that the…

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Transport of radioactive substances

Transport of radioactive substances

The transport of radioactive substances generated by the different applications of nuclear energy is carried out according to the recommendations established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), included in the legislation in force through the European Agreement on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road.

The set of measures established has the objective of minimizing the probability of a nuclear accident occurring. In case of a nuclear accident the objective is to mitigate its effects, avoiding the dispersion of radioactive material and its possible assimilation by…

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Management of low and intermediate activity nuclear waste

Management of low and intermediate activity nuclear waste

Nuclear waste management is understood as the set of activities that lead to its reuse, its disappearance or its neutralization and evacuation to suitable places. These measures must guarantee long-term security.

Nuclear waste management encompasses all the administrative and technical tasks necessary for the handling, treatment, conditioning, transport and storage of nuclear waste. These actions must take into account both economic and security factors.

Isolation of nuclear waste

The isolation of nuclear waste is done through the interposition of natural and…

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Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy

The specialty of nuclear medicine that uses ionizing radiation for the treatment of malignant tumors is known as radiation therapy.

When radioactive unsealed sources speak of metabolic radiotherapy, which involves injecting or to ingest a relatively large dose of a radioactive substance in liquid form, so that it accumulates in the organ to be treated, which acts through used of radiation emitted on fabrics in contact therewith, producing the desired destruction of tumor cells effects.

This type of therapy is used to treat hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, bone metastases from…

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Mayak Nuclear Accident

Mayak Nuclear Accident

Mayak is one of the highest points of the planet with radioactive contamination. It is also conce as Mayak Production Association (Russian: Маяк производственное объединение ). These are the names by which a complex known nuclear facilities between the cities of Kaslo and Kyshtym in laprovincia Chelyabinsk, Russia.

The Mayak nuclear accident is little known because the Soviet authorities tried to hide for 30 years nuclear leaks have been occurring.

History of Mayak nuclear plant

The construction and launch of the atomic bomb on the Japanese…

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Nuclear Accidents

Nuclear Accidents

In nuclear energy, we refer to nuclear accident to those incidents that emit a certain level of radiation, which could harm public health.

Nuclear accidents are classified as nuclear accidents and incidents depending on the severity´s level. In this classification nuclear accidents and radioactive accidents are included. To understand the difference between these two types of accidents, a nuclear accident could be the failure of a reactor of a nuclear power plant and a radiation accident could be when pouring a radiation source to a river.

Despite the known nuclear…

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Radionuclide

Radionuclide

A radioactive nuclide, radionuclide or radionuclide is an unstable nuclide and therefore degenerates emitting ionizing radiation. Although some physicists sometimes use the word radioisotope vulgarly to designate it, it should be noted that the strict or formal language of the physics and technology of nuclear energy is wrong, since a nuclide and an isotope are not the same.

When a radionuclide emits radioactivity it reaches a more stable state, which requires less energy than before and, in general, transforms into another different…

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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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Nuclear Waste

Nuclear Waste

One of the main problems in the use of nuclear energy is the management of nuclear waste as it is very dangerous and difficult to eliminate.

What is done with nuclear waste?

Nuclear waste is one of the main problems related to nuclear energy. If these wastes are not treated properly, they are highly hazardous to the population and the environment.

Radioactive waste can be classified according to its physical and chemical characteristics and by its activity.

Classifying them by their activity we have:

  • High-level nuclear waste, composed of elements of…

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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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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 Power in Mexico

Nuclear Power in Mexico

Mexico is rich in hydrocarbon resources and is a net exporter of energy. The country's interest in nuclear energy is based on the need to reduce its dependence on these non-renewable energy sources. In recent years, energy in Mexico is increasingly dependent on natural gas.

Energy growth in Mexico was very rapid in the 1990s, but then stabilized for a few years. Since 2007, a new growth in the demand for electric power was expected, up to an average rate of almost 6% per year. 

In 2016, Mexico generated 20% of its electric power through clean sources, including…

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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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Nuclear reactor coolant

Nuclear reactor coolant

A coolant in a nuclear reactor is a liquid or gaseous substance that passes through the reactor core and removes heat from the nuclear fission reaction.

In the double-circuit power reactors, the reactor coolant enters the steam generator, which produces steam that drives the turbines, and in the single-circuit reactors the coolant (steam or gas) can serve as the working fluid of the cycle of the turbine. In research (for example, materials science) and special reactors (for example, in reactors for the accumulation of radioactive isotopes) the coolant only cools the reactor, the…

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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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Chernobyl Current Status

Chernobyl Current Status

The Chernoby nuclear accident was the worst accident in the history of nuclear energy. After 30 years, Chernobyl's current situation remains delicate.

The recovery of the nuclear accident zone and the cleaning products has resulted in a large amount of radioactive waste and contaminated equipment. The generated nuclear waste is stored in about 800 different sites inside and outside the 30 km exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

These nuclear waste are partially stored in containers or buried in trenches, which can lead to the risk of contamination of…

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Tritium - nuclear fuel

Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen whose nucleus is a proton and two neutrons. The most important application of tritium is use as nuclear fuel for energy production by nuclear fusion.

It is usually designated by the symbol T, although you should symbolize systematically as 3H. It was discovered on 1934 by Rutherford, Oliphant and Harteck in the study of deuteron bombardment of deuterium.

Tritium in the atmosphere occurs at the rate of one atom of hydrogen per 1017, and is continuously formed in the upper atmosphere nuclear reactions induced…

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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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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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Chalk River Nuclear Accident

Chalk River Nuclear Accident

The Chalk River Laboratories or Chalk River Labs and formerly Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories are facilities located near the Chalk River population, Ontario (Canada) dedicated to the investigation of nuclear reactions.

The installation was born in 1942 as a result of the collaboration between British and Canadian nuclear researchers. In 1944 the Chalk River Laboratories were inaugurated and in September 1945 the installation put into operation the first nuclear reactor outside the United States.

The NRX is a research nuclear reactor, moderated by heavy water, cooled by…

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Nuclear Power in Chile

Nuclear Power in Chile

During the 70s and 80s Chile was in the process of modernizing the electric sector. During these years Chile liberalized its economy, privatized utility companies and opened the electricity sector to foreign investors.

During this time, however, Chile did not initiate any nuclear energy program unlike Argentina and Brazil. Chile did not seem willing to consider a nuclear energy option. Even in 2005, the future president Michelle Bachelet did not want to incorporate the development of nuclear energy as a valid option as part of her national energy policy.

Subsequently,…

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