Atomic Power And Nuclear Power

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Japan, because it is an island nation, possesses few natural resources and even fewer sources of fuel and energy (Nuclear Power in Japan, April 2015). As a result, Japan depends on nuclear power to sustain electricity for the 127.3 million people living there (Japan Population, 2015). Nuclear power plants like the Fukushima Daiichi plant in the towns of Futaba and Ohkuma, Japan produced substantial electricity for surrounding areas (Nuclear / TEPCO Power Plants, n.d.) and was one of the largest and most productive nuclear power plants in the world. Yet, in March 2011, a tsunami deactivated and triggered the meltdown of this massive plant, causing devastation for everything in the vicinity. Inhabitants of Japan began to express concerns…show more content…
A boiling water reactor vessel contains two primary pieces: the reactor core and the steam dryer assembly. The reactor cores of these reactors were compromised of fuel rods and control rods. Within the reactor core, a nuclear reaction is started to produce heat. To produce heat, zirconium fuel rods containing bundles of uranium-235 fuel bundles (Fukushima: Background on Reactors, February 2012) are inserted into the reactor core (the “235” in uranium-235 represents the atomic mass of that particular uranium isotope). In nuclear fission, nuclei of fuel atoms are split by bombarding them with neutrons to produces a chain reaction. Within nuclear reactors, neutrons are released to hit fuel or uranium-235 atoms. When a neutron hits a uranium atom it increases the atomic mass by one to become uranium-236, however uranium-236 is an extremely unstable uranium isotope, so it splits into barium-141, potassium-92 and three more neutrons (and this also produces heat). Each neutron produced from the reaction then zips around the reactor to hit another uranium-235 atom to continue the chain reaction. To moderate the chain reaction within reactor cores, control rods filled with boron carbide are inserted into the core (Fukushima Daiichi: ANS Committee Report, n.d.). Boron carbide absorbs neutrons when the two come in contact, so when control rods are injected,
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