Nuclear

Nuclear Power – Converting Mass Into Energy?

One of the things that most people know about nuclear power is that it about turning mass into energy – E= mc2. Although this is not wrong it is extremely misleading. First of all I am going to digress a bit. One of the things that makes Einsteins theory of relativity important is that it […]

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Controlling Nuclear Fission

Every induced fission event produces two or more neutrons. These neutrons can go on to induce more fission or they can be absorbed without producing fission or lost from the surface of the reactor core. To keep the reactor self sustaining at least one neutron must go on to produce one fission for every fission […]

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Production and Fission of Transuranic Elements In A Nuclear Reactor

If you are wondering where I am going with this it is because it is relevant to nuclear weapons proliferation, thorium fuel cycles and the problems with high burnup fuel. In a previous post I explained a bit about neutron capture, cross sections etc. Now I am going to consider a simplified model for neutron […]

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More About Neutrons

This is another background post and I am going to explain a bit more about the interaction of neutrons with matter. Since neutrons do not have a charge we are going ignore their interaction with electrons – they do interact somewhat but going into this now could be confusing. They do interact with atomic nuclei. […]

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Cs-137 in Spent Fuel as it leaves the reactor

I am now going to get a rough idea of how much caesium 137 there is in spent nuclear fuel. One reason for choosing Cs-137 is that it is a major fission product, it has a reasonably long half-life (30.17 years), it has a low melting and boiling point and is readily absorbed by the […]

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Production and Decay of Fission Products

We are going to assume that the fissile product has one mode of decay and does not do anything naughty such as undergo neutron capture. We can then write its rate of production as: where is the decay constant for fission product N, is the number of fissions per second and is the fraction of […]

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Radioactivity of U-238

This is just an example of how to calculate the radioactivity of an isotope from its halflife. Uranium 238 has a halflife of 4.468×109 years (4,468,000,000years). This is 4.468×109 x 365.25 x 24 x 60 x 60 = 1.41×1017 seconds. We can now calculate the decay constant (i.e. the number of decays per second) using […]

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A Rough Model of a Nuclear Reactor

This model is very rough however it gives some idea  about power and energy output from a nuclear reactor which I will use in later posts. The model is very simplistic but is useful in understanding some of the processes that are going on. We are going to assume that all the power is from […]

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Implications of High Burnup Fuel – Basic Notes

An important issue around nuclear new build is the amount and what happens to the spent fuel. The proposed EPR reactors at Sizewell and Hinkley are designed to run oh ‘high burnup’ fuel. This post has a basic look at what the implications are. This is a rough wordy explanation and I hope to be […]

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Spent Fuel – Basic Notes

These are just a few basic notes about spent fuel waste from nuclear power stations. It assumes a basic understanding of the nuclear fission process (see Basic Nuclear Physics workshop), however, I have tried to provide links to the relevant sections within this blog. This post is designed as a basic introduction for the discussion […]

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