Lecture - Nuclear fission, what makes rectors run

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Lecture - Nuclear fission, what makes rectors run

Postby Michael » 06 Dec 2008, 00:41

A lecture on nuclear fission - the thing that makes nuclear reactors run.

Target audience: General
Prerequisites: None

Nuclear fission is the process where atoms are being torn apart. When this happens, they release energy. This energy is then harnessed into something useful, such as heat or electricity.

How it works
An atom is comprised of three elemental particles: protons, neutrons and electrons. The protons and neutrons form the nucleus of the atom, while the electrons orbit the nucleus in a cloud around it.

If an additional neutron hits the nucleus of an atom, the atom may become unstable and fall apart spontaneoulsy. In doing so, it will release:
- Two new atom nuclei
- Energy
- One or more new neutrons

Nuclear Fission (source: Wikipedia, public domain picture)
Nuclear_fission.png (27.79 KiB) Viewed 9570 times

These released neutrons may then hit other atoms, and the process will repeated, for as long as there are new neutrons and sufficient number of atoms left. This is called a fission chain reaction.

Fission chain reaction (source:Wikipedia, public domain picture)
Fission_chain_reaction.png (77.55 KiB) Viewed 9569 times

<to be written>

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Re: Lecture - Nuclear fission, what makes rectors run

Postby NuclearSpeak » 28 Nov 2011, 11:07

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