Physics

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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Uranium Enrichment Formula

This is another one of those background information posts deriving the mass balances for uranium enrichment. Let us consider the following enrichment  scenario: We have mass F of unenriched uranium entering on the left. It has Nf of U-235 (0.72% for natural uranium). After enrichment mass P of product enriched to Np of U-235 and […]

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Using Energy and Thermal Efficiency

This is a follow on from my previous post – Energy and Temperature and looks at how we can extract and use energy from a system and what constraints there are in terms of efficiency. Energy Differences Let us consider two water containers. We have just filled one with water and it connected by a […]

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Energy and Temperature

First of all I am going to talk a bit about energy. It is not going to be a scientific analysis but is designed to give you a feel about how energy behaves. We are going to do a Gedankenexperiment (thought experiment). Let us consider a pool table with no pockets. Also the pool table […]

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The Earth should emit as much energy as it receives from the Sun

This is something that I wrote quite a while ago. Basically the Earth has to emit as much energy as it receives from the Sun or else it will get warmer. The physics of this is quite well understood. The orgininal question was about using rockets to boost the earth into a higher orbit and […]

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Secular and Transient Equilibrium Formula

I will give the full derivation since although it is quite long and looks complicated it uses nothing more than A-level mathematics. Despite this the solution of the differential equations is usually given as a standard solution rather than derived. Consider a parent isotope (P) decaying into a daughter product (D). The rate of decay […]

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Secular Equilibrium

The reason for this post is to help people understand ‘secular equilibrium’. The reason for people interest is mainly due to this report which is based on data here. I have a bit to say about this data but will not go into it now. If you want a more mathematical explanation the see here […]

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