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The fission of uranium-235 is used exclusively in nuclear power plants located in the United States. There are many different fission reactions of uranium-235, but all the fission reactions are self-sustaining chain reactions. Explain. Differentiate between the terms critical, subcritical, and supercritical. What is the critical mass? How does a nuclear power plant produce electricity? What are the purposes of the moderator and the control rods in a fission reactor? What are some problems associated with nuclear reactors? What are breeder reactors? What are some problems associated with breeder reactors?

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Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach

2nd Edition
Steven S. Zumdahl + 1 other
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781305079243

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Chapter
Section
BuyFindarrow_forward

Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach

2nd Edition
Steven S. Zumdahl + 1 other
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781305079243
Chapter 18, Problem 9RQ
Textbook Problem
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The fission of uranium-235 is used exclusively in nuclear power plants located in the United States. There are many different fission reactions of uranium-235, but all the fission reactions are self-sustaining chain reactions. Explain. Differentiate between the terms critical, subcritical, and supercritical. What is the critical mass? How does a nuclear power plant produce electricity? What are the purposes of the moderator and the control rods in a fission reactor? What are some problems associated with nuclear reactors? What are breeder reactors? What are some problems associated with breeder reactors?

Interpretation Introduction

Interpretation: The reason for all fission reactions of U-235 to be self sustaining chain reactions is to be explained. The terms critical, subcritical and super critical are to be differentiated. The production of electricity through nuclear power plant and the definition of critical mass is to be stated. The purpose of moderator, control rods in a fission reaction and problems related to nuclear reactors are to be stated. The definition of breeder reactors and problems associated with it is to be stated.

Concept introduction: Nuclear reactors are one of the energy sources to generate electricity. The problem associated with nuclear reactors is high temperatures. In breeder reactors, fissionable fuel is produced while the reactor runs. Problem associated with breeder reactors is handling plutonium. It flames on contact with air and is highly toxic.

To determine: The reason for all fission reactions of U-235 to be self-sustaining chain reactions, differentiation between terms critical, subcritical and super critical, production of electricity through nuclear power plant and the definition of critical mass, purpose of moderator, control rods in a fission reaction, problems related to nuclear reactors and definition of breeder reactors and problems associated with it.

Explanation of Solution

Explanation

The given terms critical, subcritical and super critical have been differentiated.

Fission of U-235 is extensively used in nuclear power plants in the United States. There are many different fission reactions of it but all are self-sustaining chain reactions. In the fission reactions of U-235 neutrons are also produced along with product nuclides. This makes it possible for it to be self-sustained. If at least one neutron from each fission event splits another nucleus, then the process is self-sustained.

If less than one neutron cause fission event, then the process dies out and the reaction is called subcritical. If exactly one neutron from each fission event causes another fission event, the process sustains itself at the same level and is said to be critical. If more than one neutron from each fission event causes another fission event, the process rapidly accelerates and the heat generated causes a violent explosion. This situation is known as supercritical.

Critical mass is the amount of fissionable material required to attain the critical state.

Explanation

Problems are associated with nuclear power plants as well as breeder reactors.

The nuclear reactors present in the nuclear power plants are filled with fissionable material. It undergoes the fission process and the heat energy released is converted into electrical energy. Thus nuclear power plant generates electricity

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Chapter 18 Solutions

Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach
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Ch. 18 - When nuclei undergo nuclear transformations, rays...Ch. 18 - There is a trend in the United States toward using...Ch. 18 - Which type of radioactive decay has the net effect...Ch. 18 - Consider the following graph of binding energy per...Ch. 18 - What are transuranium elements and how are they...Ch. 18 - Scientists have estimated that the earths crust...Ch. 18 - Why are the observed energy changes for nuclear...Ch. 18 - Natural uranium is mostly nonfissionable 238U; it...Ch. 18 - Much of the research on controlled fusion focuses...Ch. 18 - A recent study concluded that any amount of...Ch. 18 - Write an equation describing the radioactive decay...Ch. 18 - In each of the following radioactive decay...Ch. 18 - Supply the missing particle, and state the type of...Ch. 18 - Write balanced equations for each of the processes...Ch. 18 - Write an equation describing Ute radioactive decay...Ch. 18 - In each of the following radioactive decay...Ch. 18 - Uranium-235 undergoes a series of -particle and,...Ch. 18 - The radioactive isotope 247Bk decays by a series...Ch. 18 - One type of commercial smoke detector contains a...Ch. 18 - Thorium-232 is known to undergo a progressive...Ch. 18 - There are four stable isotopes of iron with mass...Ch. 18 - The only stable isotope of fluorine is...Ch. 18 - In 1994 it was proposed (and eventually accepted)...Ch. 18 - Many elements have been synthesized by bombarding...Ch. 18 - The rate constant for a certain radioactive...Ch. 18 - Americium-241 is widely used in smoke detectors....Ch. 18 - Krypton consists of several radioactive isotopes,...Ch. 18 - Radioactive copper-64 decays with a half-life of...Ch. 18 - A chemist wishing to do an experiment requiring...Ch. 18 - The curie (Ci) is a commonly used unit for...Ch. 18 - The first atomic explosion was detonated in the...Ch. 18 - Iodine-131 is used in the diagnosis and treatment...Ch. 18 - Technetium-99 has been used as a radiographic...Ch. 18 - Phosphorus-32 is a commonly used radioactive...Ch. 18 - The bromine-82 nucleus has a half-life of 1.0 103...Ch. 18 - Fresh rainwater or surface water contains enough...Ch. 18 - A living plant contains approximately the same...Ch. 18 - Assume a constant 14C/12C ratio of 13.6 counts per...Ch. 18 - A rock contains 0.688 mg 206Pb for every 1.000 mg...Ch. 18 - The mass ratios of 40Ar to 40K also can be used to...Ch. 18 - The sun radiates 3.9 1023 J of energy into space...Ch. 18 - The earth receives 1.8 1014 kJ/s of solar energy....Ch. 18 - Many transuranium elements, such as plutonium-232,...Ch. 18 - The most stable nucleus in terms of binding energy...Ch. 18 - Calculate the binding energy in J/nucleon for...Ch. 18 - Calculate the binding energy per nucleon for H12...Ch. 18 - The mass defect for a lithium-6 nucleus is 0.03434...Ch. 18 - The binding energy per nucleon for magnesium-27 is...Ch. 18 - Calculate the amount of energy released per gram...Ch. 18 - The easiest fusion reaction to initiate is...Ch. 18 - The typical response of a Geiger-Mller tube is...Ch. 18 - When using a Geiger-Mller counter to measure...Ch. 18 - Consider the following reaction to produce methyl...Ch. 18 - A chemist studied the reaction mechanism for the...Ch. 18 - Uranium-235 undergoes many different fission...Ch. 18 - Breeder reactors are used to convert the...Ch. 18 - Which do you think would be the greater health...Ch. 18 - Consider the following information: i. The layer...Ch. 18 - Predict whether each of the following nuclides is...Ch. 18 - Each of the following isotopes has been used...Ch. 18 - The mass percent of carbon in a typical human is...Ch. 18 - At a flea market, youve found a very interesting...Ch. 18 - Define third-life in a similar way to half-life,...Ch. 18 - A proposed system for storing nuclear wastes...Ch. 18 - During World War II, tritium (3H) was a component...Ch. 18 - A positron and an electron can annihilate each...Ch. 18 - A small atomic bomb releases energy equivalent to...Ch. 18 - During the research that led to production of the...Ch. 18 - Using the kinetic molecular theory (see Section...Ch. 18 - Consider the following reaction, which can take...Ch. 18 - Photosynthesis in plants can be represented by the...Ch. 18 - Strontium-90 and radon-222 both pose serious...Ch. 18 - Complete the following table with the nuclear...Ch. 18 - A certain radioactive nuclide has a half-life of...Ch. 18 - Iodine-131 has a half-life of 8.0 days. 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