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Nuclear generators - Term Paper Example

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Nuclear Generators Table of Contents The Chemistry of Nuclear Generators/Nuclear Power Generation 3 Conclusion 7 Works Cited 8 The Chemistry of Nuclear Generators/Nuclear Power Generation Nuclear generators are basically power generators, and at present the mechanism for generating power/electricity in nuclear power plants/generators is basically the same as for conventional power generators run by conventional fuel sources such as coal or diesel, and that is, via heated steam/water that are heated by burning the fuel…
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Nuclear generators
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Nuclear generators

The steam is then used to power the turbines that generate power. In nuclear generators, the fuel comes from nuclear fission, which is essentially the breakdown of the nucleus of a heavy atom into two smaller and lighter nuclei. The primary fuel in nuclear generators is uranium, either enriched, in its natural state, or in combination with plutonium. ...
This is true for so-called reactors that are based on light-water designs, and the table below details the different types of decay, emitted radiation, and the associated charge, mass and energy (National Academy of Sciences): Table Source: National Academy of Sciences Decay Process Radiation Emitted Mass (amu) Electrical Charge Typical Energy (MeV) Alpha Emission Alpha particle (?) 4 +2 4–9 Beta Emission Beta particle (??) 0.0005 ?1 0–3 Positron Emission Positron (?+) 0.0005 +1 0–3   Two gamma-rays (?) 0 0 0.51 Electron Capture Characteristic x-ray 0 0 0–0.1 Internal Transition Gamma-ray (?) 0 0 0.1–3 Internal Conversion Converted electron (e?) 0.0005 ?1 0.1–1   Characteristic x-ray 0 0 0.0–1 Neutron Emission Neutron (n) 1 0 0–14 Spontaneous Fission (e.g., Cf-252) Fission products and other radiations — — ?200 Table Source: National Academy of Sciences As earlier discussed, power is generated in nuclear power generators/reactors largely through fission, and largely through the use of two types of radioactive fuels, namely uranium and plutonium, either alone or in combination. The plot below provides what are called yield curves for two fuel types, uranium-235 and plutonium 239, as a function of the mass number (National Academy of Sciences; World Nuclear Association; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory): Graph Source: National Academy of Sciences/CPSMA Fission yields are related to the amount of the element that is generated for every fission reaction that occurs. The yield curve that is generated is basically the same for every kind of known fission reaction, and so the plot above is universalizable and replicable, ... Read More
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