The reaction that takes place in nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs is nuclear fission, which is a chain reaction. Fission is the splitting of atoms.
What is the chemical reaction in a nuclear reactor?
The nucleus splits into two or more lighter nuclei, releasing kinetic energy, gamma radiation, and free neutrons. A portion of these neutrons may later be absorbed by other fissile atoms and trigger further fission events, which release more neutrons, and so on. This is known as a nuclear chain reaction.
What type of reaction is central to nuclear energy?
Both fission and fusion are nuclear reactions that produce energy, but the applications are not the same. Fission is the splitting of a heavy, unstable nucleus into two lighter nuclei, and fusion is the process where two light nuclei combine together releasing vast amounts of energy.
What is the reason that a nuclear chain reaction is possible?
Fission chain reactions occur because of interactions between neutrons and fissile isotopes (such as 235U). The chain reaction requires both the release of neutrons from fissile isotopes undergoing nuclear fission and the subsequent absorption of some of these neutrons in fissile isotopes.
How much power does a nuclear reactor produce?
Nuclear energy has been powering the U.S. grid for the past 6 decades and produces around 1 gigawatt of power per plant on average.
Is fusion a chemical reaction?
While chemical reactions – such as the rusting of metal or the burning of wood – involve the redistribution of electrons between atoms, nuclear reactions involve the redistribution of nucleons. … Alternatively, in the proton-proton nuclear fusion reaction, the nuclei of two hydrogen atoms merge together to form helium.
What are 3 sources of nuclear energy?
Nuclear power can be obtained from nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion reactions. Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium in nuclear power plants.
What are the properties of radioactive nuclear waste?
Though currently abundant, nuclear fuels are nonrenewable resources. What property of radioactive nuclear waste makes it so difficult to dispose of responsibly? It is extremely volatile. It has a very long half-life.
Why is nuclear energy bad?
Nuclear energy produces radioactive waste
A major environmental concern related to nuclear power is the creation of radioactive wastes such as uranium mill tailings, spent (used) reactor fuel, and other radioactive wastes. These materials can remain radioactive and dangerous to human health for thousands of years.
What are the two types of nuclear energy?
There are two fundamental nuclear processes considered for energy production: fission and fusion.