Rykaczewski, Krzysztof P. Physics Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
- Call for new studies
- Pandemonium effect
- Studies with TAS devices
- MTAS measurements
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Nuclear reactors produce energy from the irradiation of nuclear fuel by neutrons. Most of the energy comes from splitting of heavy atoms present in nuclear fuel (for example, uranium or plutonium isotopes) into two lighter fragments. This fission process occurs when a heavy isotope like uranium-235 (235U) or plutonium-239 (239Pu) captures a neutron and then splits apart. Additional neutrons are created during the fission process and the kinetic energies from the fission fragments heat the bulk of the nuclear fuel. This heat can be converted into electricity through a cooling process based, for example, on circulating water used to produce steam to drive a turbine generator. A significant consideration is that energy generation in a nuclear power plant does not trigger carbon dioxide (CO2) release into the Earth's atmosphere, which is one of the main concerns during the operation of conventional coal-burning power stations.
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