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How is nuclear energy made? and what is your opinion on it?

Do you know where i can get a good simple(ish) picture of a nuclear reactor?

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3 Responses to “How is nuclear energy made? and what is your opinion on it?”

  1. ThE_HooLiGaN said:

    Great website, tells you the ins and outs of nuclear power.

    My opinion of it is this:
    Despite the radioactive waste generated, nuclear energy is one of the cleaniest most powerful sources of energy that we have the technology to harness.

    One major myth about nuclear plants is that they have the potential to detonate like an atom bomb. And it’s just that, a myth. The uranium used in nuclear reactors is only about 2 to 3 percent U-235.
    To create a nuclear explosion using uranium you need a sample about 90 percent U-235

  2. Santa Claus said:

    Coal power plants produce more radioactive waste than nuclear power plants. And safeguards have been put in place to ensure the disaster at chernobyl doesn’t happen again. Nuclear energy is better than coal, but it does still pollute that’s why I recommend wind or solar.

  3. DAVID said:

    There exist many designs for nuclear reactors and it would be impossible to describe them all here! However, it is possible to describe what happens inside of a nuclear reactor in terms of its key components. The key parts of a reactor are, the neutrons, the fuel elements normally enriched uranium oxide, the neutron moderators (control rods), and the coolant.

    Starting with the fuel – this is normally uranium, which consists of a high percentage of the isotope U238 and a small one of the isotope U235. It is the less common isotope that has a high ‘cross-section’ (area probability) to fission with slow or thermal neutrons (a thermal neutron has a velocity of 2200 m/s at room temperature). The U235 nuclei undergo fission, into smaller fragments (the elements produced depend upon the reactor’s internal conditions) and statistically two fast neutrons, when they encounter a thermal or slow neutron. Furthermore, a lot of heat is released during the fission process. It is possible for fast neutrons of a higher energy to fission U238. Other fuels for reactors include thorium 233 and plutonium 239.

    The fast neutrons from the chain of fission reactions must be slowed down before they can fission more U235 nuclei. This slowing down or ‘moderation’ is achieved using control rods. Originally, Enrico Fermi used graphite, in the first nuclear reactor, to moderate neutron energies by scattering. Nuclear reactors may use a wide range of moderating materials including, cadmium, and heavy water. The slowed down neutrons may then fission more U235 nuclei.

    The liberated heat must be carried away from the reactor core and this is achieved using a cooling system, which is a closed circuit of either a pumped gas or liquid (typically water-cooled). A heat exchanger then carries the heat away from the cooling system to generate steam so that turbines may be driven to generate electricity.

    The nuclear reactor system of generating power is in some respects more dirty than the coal or oil fired systems. However, nuclear power does not emit much in the way of green house gases and is renewable due to fuel reprocessing and ample reserves of uranium. The down side to nuclear fuel and reactors is that there have been several bad accidents such as Three Mile Island in the USA and Chernobyl in the USSR plus one in the UK during the late nineteen fifties. Nuclear fuel and by-products are radioactive and have to be very carefully stored for a long time. Finally, nuclear workers face long-term health risks due to their exposure to radiation!

    It would seem that there are ’roundabouts and swings’ with the environmental and safety issues surrounding nuclear power generation.

    For photos of a nuclear core, try Wikipedia.


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