Nuclear Power Plant Isar, Germany

Spent nuclear fuel pool

Turbine of a nuclear plant

Uranium

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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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Nuclear Power in India

Nuclear Power in India

Nuclear power in India is currently in a state of growth with strong nuclear development plans. By 2020, India has set a target to supply 14,600 MW to the grid through the use of nuclear energy. Subsequently, in 2050, India wants 25% of electricity is produced by nuclear energy.

India is a founding member of the global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Because of these restrictions on trade and the lack of indigenous uranium, only India has been developing a nuclear fuel cycle to exploit its reserves of thorium.

Plans to boost nuclear power…

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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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Nuclear Power in Argentina

Electricity consumption in Argentina has grown strongly since 1990. Per capita consumption was just over 2,000 kWh / year in 2002 and increased to over 2,600 kWh / year in 2007. Gross production of electricity in 2007 was 115 million kWh, 54% from gas, 27% hydro, 9.4% oil, a 2.2% from coal, and 6.3% (7.2 million kWh) of nuclear origin. In 2008, nuclear energy provides more than 6.8 million kWh of electricity - about 6.2% of total electricity generation.

In Argentina, the electricity production is largely privatized, and is regulated by the ENRE (National Regulatory Authority for Electricity).…

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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 Power in Brazil

Nuclear Power in Brazil

In 2016, gross electricity production in Brazil was 579 TWh, including 381 TWh (66%) of hydroelectric power, 56 TWh (10%) of gas, 51 TWh (9%) of biomass and waste, 34 TWh ( 6%) of wind energy and solar energy, 26 TWh (4%) of coal, 16 TWh (3%) of nuclear and 15 TWh (3%) of oil.

The high dependence on hydroelectric energy leads to a certain climate vulnerability that is driving the policy to reduce dependence on it.

Around 40% of Brazil's electricity is produced by the national system of Eletrobrás a. About 20% of electricity comes from public utilities, and the rest comes…

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Atomic bomb

The operation of an atomic bomb is similar to the operation of a nuclear reactor, wherein the mass of fuel is well above the critical mass. Initially, the fuel is fragmented, and each of the pieces, enough from the others, so it untreated the critical size; Explosion occurs at closer fragments including sharply.

To increase the performance and efficiency of an atomic bomb to be used practically pure fuels; those used so far have been uranium-235 and plutonium-239. Uranium-235 is difficult and expensive to obtain, because it is not possible to chemically separate it from natural uranium…

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Atucha-1 nuclear power plant, Argentina

 Atucha-1  nuclear power plant, Argentina

Atucha I est située à 100 km de la ville de Buenos Aires (Argentine), près de la ville de Lima sur la rive droite du fleuve Paraná de las Palmas.

A été exploitée pendant plus de 30 ans. Pendant ce temps, le réacteur nucléaire a généré plus de 65.000 millions de kWh d'énergie en utilisant 1400 tonnes d'uranium.

Le carburant utilisé par le nucléaire, je l'Argentine est de 0,85% d'uranium enrichi. Pour la modération est utilitza refrigeracióny eau lourde (D20). Il…

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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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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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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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Nuclear Power in Mexico

Nuclear Power in Mexico

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

The energy growth was very rapid in the 1990s, but then stabilized for a few years. Since 2007 expected new growth in demand for electricity to an average rate of almost 6% per year. In 2007, we generated 257 million kWh. Supply Origin is varied electric, gas 126 TWh (49%), oil of 52 TWh (20%), coal 32 TWh (12.5%) and hydroelectric…

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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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Brown's Ferry Nuclear Power Plant, USA

Brown's Ferry Nuclear Power Plant, USA

The Browns Ferry nuclear power plant (born as a Browns Ferry nuclear plant) is a functioning nuclear power plant in the southeastern United States.

The station is located on the shores of Lake Wheeler in the Tennessee River Basin in Limestone County, Alabama, 35 miles west of the city of Huntsville.

Unit 1 of the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant

Unit 1 is a 1101 megawatt electric BWR / 4 network built by General Electric. Construction began in Unit 1 on September 12, 1966 and was originally started online on December 20, 1973. It was authorized to operate until December…

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