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Chemistry

9th Edition
Steven S. Zumdahl
ISBN: 9781133611097

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BuyFindarrow_forward

Chemistry

9th Edition
Steven S. Zumdahl
ISBN: 9781133611097
Textbook Problem

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

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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