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3-8 Nuclear Power Generation. (11.3 pg 318-322) . Physicists figured out they could cause a self-propagating set chain reaction of nuclear fission reactions from a single neutron to create a lot of energy ( Fig.1 p.318 ). .

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3 8 nuclear power generation

3-8 Nuclear Power Generation

(11.3 pg 318-322)




  • The of energy, a large number of reactions could produce a LOT of energy, but would also need to be controlled! first nuclear reactor was built in 1942 as an experiment (Fig.2 p.319).


  • It helped to highlight 5 major problems that needed to be overcome by any nuclear power plant:

    • Very concentrated radioactive material is needed. Natural uranium is not enough.

    • Fast moving neutrons need to be slowed down in order to react with a nucleus and cause fission. A moderator is a substance that slows the neutrons down enough.

    • There needed to be a minimum mass of radioactive fuel to absorb the neutrons. This amount is called the critical mass.

    • The reaction needs to be controlled. If it goes too fast it can overheat and explode. Too slow and it will stop altogether.

    • The final problem was how to deal with the massive amounts of heat produced. This problem was nicely solved by using it to boil water to generate steam to drive a turbine, which would generate electricity.


  • Canadian- overcome by any nuclear power plant: developednuclear reactors are called CANDU reactors (CANDU =CANadian Deuterium and Uranium).

  • They use natural uranium as fuel and heavy water (deuterium water) as a moderator and coolant.

  • CANDU reactors are a type of pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR); the other popular type of popular reactor is the pressurized water reactor or (PWR).


  • There overcome by any nuclear power plant: are advantages and disadvantages to nuclear power facilities:


TED talk debate: Does the world ‘need’ nuclear energy? overcome by any nuclear power plant:

http://www.ted.com/talks/debate_does_the_world_need_nuclear_energy#t-30854


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