Physics : Physics Internal 3.7 Essay

1909 Words Jun 24th, 2016 8 Pages
Physics Internal 3.7 By Jimmy Upward - DRAFT
Nuclear Energy
Nuclear energy is a relatively new technological advancement, only discovered in 1934. In 1934, Enrico Fermi discovered the potential of nuclear fission when he bombarded uranium atoms with neutrons and found that the products of the reaction were much lighter than the uranium atoms that were originally there. In December of 1942, Fermi made more progress with his research, creating the first sustained nuclear reaction through the use of uranium and control rods. This process was similar to the nuclear reactions that take place in modern facilities.

Under the right conditions, we can create a successful nuclear reaction with Uranium-235, a single neutron is fired at a Uranium-235 atom. This neutron causes the uranium to become unstable and split off into separate products, most notably 2 smaller atoms (A known pair of products are Barium-142 and Krypton-91) and 2-3 separate neutrons. These neutrons split off and attach to other Uranium-235 atoms, this is the start of a chain reaction, creating a large amount of heat energy as the reaction continues. This is a common form of nuclear fission, a process in which a large nucleus is forced to split into smaller nuclei, and is used in modern nuclear power plants.
This heat energy, when harnessed inside a nuclear power plant, heats up the fuel rods that the uranium is contained and in turn heats the water surrounding it to create steam. This steam then powers turbines…

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