- Created by: juddr12
- Created on: 06-05-14 20:00
Nuclear fission is when a nucleus splits. There are two isotopes commonly used in nuclear reactor: uranium-235 and plutonium-239. Uranium-235 is the more commonly used between them both.
Common uranium, uranium-238, is non-fissionable. Nuclear reactors used enriched uranium with 2-3% uranium-235.
Nucleur fission occurs when these atoms absorb a neutron, this then forces the nucleus to split. Two or three neutrons are emitted with a large amount of heat/energy. The amount of heat is higher than if you were to release energy through a chemical process such as burning.
A chain reaction is when each fission event causes more fission event. This needs to be controlled otherwise a large amount of heat could be released and cause nucleur problems and accidents.
Nucleur fusion is when two nuclei are pushed together to form a bigger nucleus. Fusion is the process in which energy released in stars. Nuclei approaching each other with the same charge will cause them to repel, meaning that it requires a large amount of energy to fuse them together. Due to the high temperatures, we need to keep the temperatures in a magnetic field and not a regular container.
A huge source of background radiation is radon gas which seeps through the floors from radioactive elements from underground. They emit alpha particles which are a health hazard if breathed in.
Other sources include X-Rays, outerspace, food, drink, airtravel and nuclear weapon testing.
Uranium and plutonium in fuel rods are used again, however other radioactive waste from the fuel rods are emptied into secure conditions until it all decays. The reason behind this is that if people are exposed to it, it may cause…