Nuclear Power Plant Isar, Germany

Spent nuclear fuel pool

Turbine of a nuclear plant

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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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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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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 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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Chemical energy

Chemical energy

Chemical energy is the potential of a chemical substance to undergo a transformation through a chemical reaction or to transform itself into other chemical substances. Forming or breaking chemical bonds involves energy. This energy can be absorbed or evolved from a chemical system.

The energy that can be released (or absorbed) by a reaction between a set of chemical substances is equal to the difference between the amount of energy of the products and the reactants. This change in energy is called the internal energy of a chemical reaction.

Since the strength of…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Enriched uranium

Enriched uranium

Enriched uranium is uranium that has gone through a technological process to increase the proportion of the uranium-235 isotope. As a result, natural uranium is divided into enriched uranium and depleted uranium.

Natural uranium contains three isotopes of uranium: uranium-238 (99.2745%), uranium-235 (0.72%) and uranium-234 (0.0055%). The isotope uranium-238 is a relatively stable isotope, incapable of an independent nuclear chain reaction, unlike the rare uranium-235. Currently, uranium-235 is the main fissile material in the chain reactions of nuclear…

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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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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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Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is the energy contained in the nucleus of atoms. Nuclear energy is used in multiple applications (see applications of nuclear energy), but the best known application is the generation of electricity.

The term nuclear energy is often used to refer to the electrical energy generated by nuclear power plants.

One of the ways of harnessing…

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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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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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Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR)

Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR)

The pressurized water nuclear reactor is the type of nuclear reactor more used worldwide in the nuclear power plants of generation of electricity. At present, there are more than 230 nuclear reactors in the world made with the pressurized water system. Also known by its abbreviations PW. Its main feature is the use of water under high pressure in the primary circuit to prevent it from boiling.

Within the naval engineering the pressurized water nuclear reactor (PWR) is widely used. In fact, this model was originally designed to be used on a nuclear submarine.

Pressurized water…

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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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