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Nuclear Power

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Edgar Allen-Poe

on 16 December 2009

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Transcript of Nuclear Power

Nuclear Power FISSION is when elements are broken up to release power There are 2 basic types of nuclear power FUSION is fusing the nuclei together to create larger elements, releasing power A neutron is then shot at this unstable atom causing it to break apart into smaller atoms such as Barium or Krypton, and also releases more free neutrons Fission starts with a large radioactive element, usually Uranium These new free neutrons go on to hit other unstable atoms, causing a chain reaction that releases a lot of power There are two forces working on an atom, the Nuclear Force (S), and the Electric Charge (EM)
The Nuclear Force holds the atom together, it is much stronger than the Electic Force, but works at much shorter distances The Electric Charge is pulling the atom apart, it has almost no affect at a short range, but once an atom gets big enough (after Iron), the outside of the Nucleus get's unstable, or RADIOACTIVE A radioactive atom wants to become stable, and there are three ways it can do this: 1. Convert Neutrons into protons and give of BETA RADIATION 2. Kick out Nucleons in groups of four (two Neutrons and two Protons) in ALPHA RADIATION 3. The Nucleus can break apart into smaller atoms Normally this process would take millions of years By shooting an accerated Neutron at at the Nuclei of an unstable atom, we can force it to break apart When it breaks apart it releases extra free Neutrons These go on to collide with other unstable atoms, and a chain starts There is a certain amount of energy stored in the bonds of an atom For Uranium this is about 1786 MeV For Barium, 1195 MeV And for Krypton, 783 MeV This means that everytime we split an atom of Uranium we liberate 192 MeV By doing this reaction underwater, this extra energy causes the water to boil, the steam released is then forced through a turbine and made into usable power Fusion starts with isotopes of Hydrogen The Isotopes used are Deuterium (H^2) and Tritium (H^3) Deuterium has an atomic weight of two, one Proton and one Neutron, but Tritium has a weight of three, one Proton and two Neutrons By fusing these together, we end up with Helium (two Protons and two Neutrons), and one extra free Neutron The Energy in Deuterium is about 2 MeV For Tritium, 8 MeV And for Helium, 28 MeV These means that for each fusion of Hydrogen, we get 18 MeV, nearly twice what we started with Why aren't we using this? The problem is getting the atoms to overcome the force of the Electric Charge that wants to keep them away from each other It works on the sun because the massive amount of gravity holds them in place, and ther super high temperatures allow them to get enough speed to fuse So, in order to harness fusion, you must have high temperatures and pressure Scientists are working on a method using PLASMA It happens when there is so much energy that the electrons actually break of from the nuclei and float around in a sort of chemistry soup PLASMA is a 4th state, with higher energy than a gas PLASMA Plasma reacts very strongly to magnets, so by heating atoms up to a plasma, and applying magneting pressure all around, we are able to recreate the conditions necessary for FUSION INTERESTING FACTS Helium-3 can be substituted for Tritium (an extremely rare isotope of Hydrogen) There is an estimated 1 million tonnes of Helium-3 on the moon's surface 25 Tonnes of Helium-3 would be enough to power the U.S.A. for a year The maximum payload of the Space Shuttle is 25 Tonnes All the Nuclear waste from the Nuclear power plant in Toronto is stored on site, this is similar for plants all across the world The Cheronobyl meltdown in 1986 was caused almost completely by untrained and inexperinced crew Approx 4,000 people died due to the meltdown at Cheronobyl Approx. 0 people have died in the U.S.A. due to Nuclear power Why?
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