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Posted by on Mar 26, 2011 in Physical Chemistry | 0 comments

Nuclear Radiation (2): How a Nuclear Reactor Works

The fission reactor uses a controlled nuclear fission process to produce thermal energy, which is then converted into electricity by boiling water. With the exception of the reactor core, a nuclear power plant is similar to any other power plant that relies on thermal energy. The difference is the means by which the thermal energy is produced.

Nuclear fuel is most commonly composed of compounds containing Uranium 235 which makes up less than 1% or uranium ore in natural abundance. Most Uranium is U -238 and we have seen in part 1 that this is radioactive and decays primarily by alpha emission.

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