 Principles of nuclear energy  Fission reactions  Nuclear reactor  Nuclear power plants

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  • Principles of nuclear energyFission reactionsNuclear reactorNuclear power plants

  • Chain reaction occurs when a Uranium atom splits

    Different reactionsAtomic Bomb in a split secondNuclear Power Reactor more controlled, cannot explode like a bomb

  • 1938 Scientists study Uranium nucleus1941 Manhattan Project begins1942 Controlled nuclear chain reaction1945 U.S. uses two atomic bombs on Japan1949 Soviets develop atomic bomb1952 U.S. tests hydrogen bomb1955 First U.S. nuclear submarine

  • Program to justify nuclear technology

    Proposals for power, canal-building, exports

    First commercial power plant, Illinois 1960

  • The energy in one pound of highly enriched Uranium is comparable to that of one million gallons of gasoline.

    One million times as much energy in one pound of Uranium as in one pound of coal.

  • Nuclear energy annually prevents5.1 million tons of sulfur2.4 million tons of nitrogen oxide164 metric tons of carbon

    Nuclear often pitted against fossil fuelsSome coal contains radioactivityNuclear plants have released low-level radiation

  • 1964 Atomic Energy Commission report on possible reactor accident

    45,000 dead100,000 injured$17 billion in damagesArea the size of Pennsylvania contaminated

  • 17% of worlds electricity from nuclear power U.S. about 20% (2nd largest source)

    431 nuclear plants in 31 countries 103 of them in the U.S.Built none since 1970s (Wisconsin as leader). U.S. firms have exported nukes.Push from Bush/Cheney for new nukes.

  • Uranium mining and millingConversion and enrichmentFuel rod fabricationPOWER REACTORReprocessing, orRadioactive waste disposalLow-level in commercial facilitiesHigh level at plants or underground repository

  • U-235 Fissionable at 3%Weapons grade at 90%

    U-238 More stable

    Plutonium-239 Created from U-238; highly radioactive

  • Life span of least 240,000 years

    Last Ice Age glaciation was 10,000 years ago

    Neanderthal Man died out30,000 years ago

  • Largest industrial users of water, electricityPaducah, KY, Oak Ridge, TN, Portsmouth, OH

    Cancers and leukemia among workersFires and mass exposure.Karen Silkwood at Oklahoma fabrication plant.

    Risk of theft of bomb material.

  • 3% enriched Uranium pellets formed into rods, which are formed into bundlesBundles submerged in water coolant inside pressure vessel, with control rods.Bundles must be SUPERCRITICAL; will overheat and melt if no control rods. Reaction converts water to steam, which powers steam turbine

  • Reactors pressure vessel typically housed in 8 of steel

    36 concrete shielding

    45 steel reinforced concrete

  • Uses liquid sodium metal instead of water for coolantCould explode if in contact with air or water

    1966 Fermi, Michigan Partial meltdown nearly causes evacuation of Detroit

    1973 Shevchenko, RussiaBreeder caught fire and exploded

    Controversial proposals in Europe, U.S.

  • Separates reusable fuel from wasteLarge amounts of radioactivity released

    1960s West Valley, NY Radiation leaked into Lake Ontario

    1970s La Hague, France Released plutonium plumes into air

  • Low-level wastes in commercial facilities

    Spent fuel in pools or dry casks by plants

    Nuclear lab wastesHanford wastes leaked radiation into Columbia River

    High-level underground repository Yucca Mountain in Nevada to 2037Wolf River Batholith in Wisconsin after 2037?Risks of cracks in bedrock, water seepage

  • Disposal of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants and weapons facilities by recycling it into household products.

    In 1996, 15,000 tons of metal were received by the Association of Radioactive Metal Recyclers . Much was recycled into products without consumer knowledge.

    Depleted Uranium munitions for military.

  • Nuclear energy has no typical pollutants or greenhouse gasses

    Nuclear waste contains high levels of radioactive waste, which are active for hundreds of thousands of years.

    The controversy around nuclear energy stems from all parts of the nuclear chain.


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