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Nuclear Power

Helena Nulk
form 11b

Tartu 2009
Table of contents
Introduction 3
What is nuclear power? 3
Nuclear life cycle 3
What is nuclear energy? 3
What is nuclear fusion ? 4
What is nuclear fission? 4
What is radioactive decay ? 5
History of nuclear power 6
Nuclear power today 7
The future of nuclear power 9
Advantages and disadvantages on Nuclear power 10
Advantages of nuclear power generation: 10
Disadvantages of nuclear power generation: 10
Conclusion 12
References 13


What is nuclear power?

Nuclear power is any nuclear technology designed to extract usable energy from atomic nuclei via controlled nuclear reactions. The most common method today is through nuclear fission, though other methods include nuclear fusion and radioactive decay. All utility- scale reactors heat water to produce steam, which is then converted into mechanical work for the purpose of generating electricity or propulsion. In 2007, 14% of the world's electricity came from nuclear power. More than 150 nuclear-powered naval vessels have been built , and a few radioisotope rockets have been produced.

Nuclear life cycle

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle begins when uranium is mined, enriched, and manufactured into nuclear fuel, which is delivered to a nuclear power plant . After usage in the power plant, the spent fuel is delivered to a reprocessing plant or to a final repository for geological disposition. In reprocessing 95% of spent fuel can be recycled to be returned to usage in a power plant.

What is nuclear energy?

Nuclear energy was first discovered by French physicist Henri Becquerel in 1896, when he found that photographic plates stored in the dark near uranium were blackened like X-ray plates, which had been just recently discovered at the time 1895. It is energy released by the splitting (fission) or merging together (fusion) of the nuclei of atoms. The conversion of nuclear mass to energy is consistent with the mass-energy equivalence formula ΔE = Δm.c², in which ΔE = energy release ,
Δm = mass defect , and c = the speed of light in a vacuum.
Nuclear chemistry can be used as a form of alchemy to turn lead into gold or change any atom to any other atom (albeit through many steps). Radionuclide (radioisotope) production often involves irradiation of another isotope (or more precisely a nuclide), with alpha particles, beta particles, or gamma rays. Iron has the highest binding energy per nucleon of any atom. If an atom of lower average binding energy is changed into an atom of higher average binding energy, energy is given off.

What is nuclear fusion?

Nuclear fusion is the process by which multiple like-charged atomic nuclei join together to form a heavier nucleus . It is accompanied by the release or absorption of energy. Iron and nickel nuclei have the largest binding energies per nucleon of all nuclei. The fusion of two nuclei with lower mass than iron generally releases energy while the fusion of nuclei heavier than iron absorbs energy; vice-versa for the reverse process, nuclear fission. In the simplest case of hydrogen fusion, two protons have to be brought close enough for their mutual electric repulsion to be overcome by the nuclear force and the subsequent release of energy.
Nuclear fusion occurs naturally in stars . Artificial fusion in human enterprises has also been achieved, although not yet completely controlled. Building upon the nuclear transmutation experiments of Ernest Rutherford done a few years earlier, fusion of light nuclei (hydrogen isotopes) was first observed by Mark Oliphant in 1932, and the steps of the main cycle of nuclear fusion in stars were subsequently worked out by Hans Bethe throughout the remainder of that decade. Research into fusion for military purposes began in the early 1940s, as part of the Manhattan Project, but was not successful until 1952. Research into controlled fusion for civilian purposes began in the 1950s, and continues to this day.

What is nuclear fission?

Nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts, often producing free neutrons and lighter nuclei, which may eventually produce photons (in the form of gamma rays). Fission of heavy elements is an exothermic reaction which can release large amounts of energy both as electromagnetic radiation and as kinetic energy of the fragments (heating the bulk material where fission takes place ). Fission is a form
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  • Nuclear Power
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • History of nuclear power
  • Nuclear power today
  • The future of nuclear power
  • Advantages and disadvantages on Nuclear power
  • Conclusion
  • References

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