The Physics Of Nuclear Power

942 WordsNov 16, 20164 Pages
A pellet of nuclear fuel weighs roughly 0.1 ounces, but yet has the same amount of energy as a ton of coal (McLeish, 2008, p. 47). Such a small portion of nuclear fuel can produce a magnificent impact. This strong energy alternative must be closely analyzed to predict the future of its ability. There are many characteristics that must be taken into account to permit a nuclear power plant to operate properly. The process of generating electrical power consists of several precise steps that must be executed correctly.The four main fundamental elements of a nuclear power plant are reactor, cooling system, electrical-power generating unit, and safety system (Newton & Gilman, 2014). Producing nuclear power originates from a process known as fission, which occurs when atoms split apart and releases energy that is used to generate electricity. The author states, “the splitting of an atom releases an incredible amount of heat and gamma radiation, or radiation made of high energy protons” (Brain & Lamb, 2000). A chain reaction takes place during nuclear fission. It occurs when an atom of uranium-235 is struck by a neutron, releasing a tiny amount of heat energy. Ultimately the nucleus of the uranium becomes unstable and splits into two smaller nuclei, meanwhile releasing two or three more neutrons in the process (McLeish, 2008, p. 8). While dealing with a chain reaction critical mass must be taken into account. Critical mass is knowing the smallest mass of a fissionable material

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