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Nuclear Energy Chapter 12. Introduction to the Nuclear Process Fission – nuclear energy released when atom split, conventional technology Fusion – nuclear.

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Presentation on theme: "Nuclear Energy Chapter 12. Introduction to the Nuclear Process Fission – nuclear energy released when atom split, conventional technology Fusion – nuclear."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nuclear Energy Chapter 12

2 Introduction to the Nuclear Process Fission – nuclear energy released when atom split, conventional technology Fusion – nuclear energy released when atoms fused, solar & futuristic Enrichment – Concentration of uranium ore to 3% to enable it to react

3 Introduction to the Nuclear Process Atoms and Radioactivity Proton (+) Neutron (0) Electron (-) Nucleus Normally: # protons = # neutrons = # electrons Atomic mass = # protons + # neutrons Atomic number = # protons

4 Introduction to the Nuclear Process 8 P 8 N Oxygen 6 P 6 N Carbon Differing # proton = different atom Normally, # proton = # electrons = # neutrons

5 Introduction to the Nuclear Process 6 P 8 N Carbon If # neutrons > # protons = Isotope Chemical behavior identical to normal atom. Many are radioactive

6 Common Radioactive Isotopes Introduction to the Nuclear Process

7 Nuclear Fission Nuclear Fuel Cycle Uranium mines and mills U-235 enrichment Fabrication of fuel assemblies Nuclear power plant Uranium tailings Depleted uranium tails Factory wastes Low-level wastes Spent fuel stored on-site Deep geological disposal Spent fuel reprocessing

8 Nuclear Fission

9 How Electricity is Produced from Conventional Nuclear Fission

10 Nuclear Fission Breeder Nuclear Fission

11 Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy Impact CoalNuclear Land use 17,000 ac1,900 ac Daily fuel requirement 9,000 tons/day3 kg/day Air pollution Moderate to severe Low Radioactive emissions 1 curie28,000 curies Risk from catastrophic accidents Short-term local risk Long-term risk over large area

12 Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy Is Electricity Produced by Nuclear Energy Cheap? Role of government subsidies (hidden costs) The cost of building a nuclear power plant Fixing technical and safety problems in existing plants

13 Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy Can Nuclear Energy Decrease Our Reliance on Foreign Oil? Only 3% of electricity in US generated by oil Oil primarily used for: – heating buildings –vehicles

14 Safety Issues in Nuclear Power Plants Probability of major accident low, but if it occurs, consequences are wide- spread and long-lasting Major accidents have included: Three Mile Island Chornobyl

15 Safety Issues in Nuclear Power Plants Radioactive fallout from Chornobyl:

16 Safety Issues in Nuclear Power Plants The Link Between Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Weapons Spent fuel from conventional nuclear plant Fuel for breeder reactor Can be reprocessed for... OR Nuclear weapons

17 Radioactive Wastes Two general types: Low-level radioactive wastes - contaminated High-level radioactive wastes - reactor

18 Radioactive Wastes Temporary storage includes above-ground storage casks Insert Fig a, b

19 Radioactive Wastes Case-in-Point: Yucca Mountain – by 2010

20 Radioactive Wastes Other considerations: High-Level Radioactive Liquid Waste Radioactive Wastes with Relatively Short Half-Lives Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants

21 Fusion: Nuclear Energy for the Future? Fusion

22 The Future of Nuclear Power Issues: Making nuclear power safer - NRC Standardizing power plant designs internationally


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