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Are you prepared?. start 2:27. Renewable or Non-Renewable?. What is Radiation?. Uranium 92 U 238.02891. How many protons? How many electrons? How many neutrons?. 6 C Carbon 12.011. 92 protons 92 electrons 146 neutrons. What is Radiation?.

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Are you prepared

Are you prepared?... start 2:27

Renewable or non renewable

Renewable or Non-Renewable?

Are you prepared

What is Radiation?



How many protons?

How many electrons?

How many neutrons?





92 protons

92 electrons

146 neutrons

What is radiation

What is Radiation?

  • Radiation = particles given off by unstable atoms.

  • 3 Types:

    • Alpha (α)

      • Travels few inches

      • Blocked by paper (skin)

    • Beta (β)

      • Travels few feet

      • Blocked by aluminum, glass

    • Gamma (γ)

      • Travels far

      • Blocked by lead (steel & concrete).

Background radiation

Background Radiation

  • The amount of radiation we are exposed to daily from the environment

  • Average =

    360 millirem/year or

    3 millisieverts

Are you prepared EVR3019/Nuclear_Waste.ppt

Are you prepared

Effects of Radiation

  • Genetic damages: from mutations that alter genes

    • defects can become apparent in the next generation

  • Somatic damages: to tissue, such as burns, miscarriages & cancers

Nuclear waste

Nuclear waste

  • Power plants produce radioactive wastes

    • mostly spent fuel rods (3-4 years)

    • each reactor produces about 20-30 tons yearly

  • Currently stored in pools on site and then above ground casks

    • some remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years

  • How should we store this waste?

Yucca mountain

Yucca Mountain

Options for waste

Options for Waste

  • Keep onsight

  • Bury

  • Shoot into space

  • Bury in ocean floor

  • Bury in Antarctica

  • Change it into harmless or reprocess to make new fuel

Low level high level radioactive waste

Low-Level & High Level Radioactive Waste

Emit small amounts of ionizing radiation

Stored 100-500 years

19401970: put in steel drums, dumped in ocean (still UK & Pakistan)

1970+: gov’t run landfills

  • Stored for thousands of years

  • Mostly spent fuel rods (240,000 yrs)

  • Safety debate

  • Options:

    • Keep onsight

    • Bury

    • Shoot into space

    • Bury in ocean floor

    • Bury in Antarctica

    • Change it into harmless

Are you prepared

Nuclear energy

Nuclear Energy

  • The energy that exists within the nucleus of an atom.

  • Nuclear Fission = the release of energy from the splitting of atoms!

  • Nuclear Fusion = the combining of two smaller atoms into one larger atom.


Nuclear fission

Nuclear Fission

Nuclear fusion

Nuclear Fusion

Nulear change

Nulear Change

Nuclear Fission

Nuclear Fusion

Sun and stars, some weapons

2 small (light) isotopes are forced together

H + H = He

Need temps > 100,000,000ºC

Releases more E than fission

  • Bombs & power plants

  • Big, unstable isotopes are struck by neutrons, which splits the isotope’s nuclei

  • More neutrons “shoot out” to strike nearby isotopes, causing a chain reaction.

Are you prepared

437 commercial reactors in 32 countries, producing 17% electricity

Nuclear power plant

Nuclear Power Plant

a controlled nuclear fission chain reaction

heats water

produce high-pressure steam

that turns turbines

which turns generator and creates electricity.

Are you prepared

Controlled Nuclear Fission Reaction

Are you prepared


Boiling water reactor

Boiling Water Reactor

Are you prepared

Pressurized Water Reactor

Boiling Water Reactor

Are you prepared

Nuclear reactor

Where nuclear fission occurs.

Surrounded by thick concrete, steel & lead.

Blocks all radiation!

Nuclear Reactor

Inside the reactor

Fuel Rods

35,000 – 70,000 fuel rods

3% Uranium-235 pellets

In water (moderator)

Control Rods

absorb extra neutrons

Control the chain reaction

Inside the Reactor

Cooling tower

Cooling Tower

  • Water is the coolant in the system.

  • Tower is used to condense hot steam to liquid water.

  • Usually taken from river, lake, ocean.

  • Water can be reused.



Life span of a power plant = 15-40 years

Parts wear out, Fuel is spent

Plant is shut down

Highly radioactive for 240,000 years

Must store for 10 times the half-life

What can we do with them?

Are you prepared


= time needed for one-half of the nuclei in a radioisotope to decay and emit their radiation to form a stable isotope


Uranium 235710 million yrsalpha, gamma

Plutonium 23924,000 yrsalpha, gamma

When people think about nuclear power they think about

When people think about nuclear power they think about…

  • Effects of radiation

  • Nuclear waste disposal

  • Nuclear disasters

Three mile island 1979

Three Mile Island - 1979

  • .008 sieverts over 7 days

  • Remember 1,000 sieverts is radiation sickness

  • 5,000 is death

Chernobyl 1986

Chernobyl - 1986

  • 300 sieverts per hour

  • 240 acute radiation sickness; 31 died within 3 months

  • 100,000 people evacuated

  • Some claim up to 985,000 deaths due to Chernobyl

Chernobyl fallout

Chernobyl Fallout



  • 0.4 sieverts per hour

  • 70,000 people evacuated

  • 140,000 told to stay inside

Are you prepared


  • 10 min video on nuclear energy

    • Fission, fusion, overview

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