nuclear fission and fusion-additional-physics

Aimee Shanks
Flashcards by Aimee Shanks, updated more than 1 year ago
Aimee Shanks
Created by Aimee Shanks about 6 years ago


nuclear fission chain reactions nuclear fusion

Resource summary

Question Answer
Definition of nuclear fission Splitting up of big atomic nuclei
How is it nuclear fission used? Used to generate electricity using nuclear reactors. A controlled chain reaction takes place in which atomic nuclei split up and release heat. This heats water for steam which then turns a turbine
What fuel is usually used in nuclear fission? uranium-235 or plutonium-239
Info on nuclear reactor fission: -reactor is surrounded by a large concrete container to absorb some heat and to control it -control rods keep chain reaction under control -coolant cools down system using water -moderator slows down neutrons to create more fission events
What are the safety issues regarding nuclear fission? -chain reaction can become uncontrollable -it produces radioactive waste which is difficult and expensive to dispose
Explain how chain reactions happen in nuclear fission -when nuclear fission happens a slow moving electron is absorbed into the uranium or plutonium nucleus. This makes the nucleus unstable -this causes it to split and spit out 2 or 3 neutrons -this could then lead to being absorbed into another nucleus and therefore keeping the reaction going
Definition of nuclear fusion The joining of small atomic nuclei. This is when the two light nuclei e.g hydrogen join to create a larger nucleus
Conditions needed for nuclear fusion? -very high temperature -high pressure -if these are not high enough they repel each other
How much energy does nuclear fusion create? Lots of energy. More then fission . People are trying to develop reactors for it to create electricity
Why can't nuclear fusion be used yet for generating electricity? - requires extremely high temperatures (around 10,000,000 decree c) to fuse - the high pressure and temps means that it cannot be held in normal containers
Where does nuclear fusion happen in nature? The stars
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