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Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Energy and Response Examples from Nuclear Town Meeting

QuestionAnswer
What is the nucleus of the atom The center of the atom; contains neutrons and protons
What is an Isotope? Atoms of the same element with different masses due to different numbers of neutrons.
What is ion ( radiation)? The release of energy and particles by the decay of an unstable atom.
What is nuclear fission? The splitting of a nucleus
What is nuclear fallout? Particles of dust and other matter containing radioactive material.
What is a nuclear meltdown? When the fuel rods in a nuclear reactor overheat and melt.
Where are the protons, neutrons, and electrons located in an atom? Be able to draw a diagram. protons (positive) and neutrons (neutral) are located in the nucleus, electrons(negative) are on outer shells around the nucleus
The most common fuel for nuclear energy and nuclear weapons is Uranium-235. In terms of protons, neutrons, and electrons, what does the 235 mean? The 235 is the atomic mass of the isotope of uranium. Since the atomic number is 92 (equal to the number of protons and electrons), the difference is the number of neutrons. 235-92 = 143 neutrons.
Why is Uranium-235 an ideal isotope to use for nuclear technology compared to something like carbon-12? Carbon-12 has a much smaller nucleus (6 protons + 6 neutrons). Smaller nuclei are much more stable and harder to split.
Explain what is happening in each of the lettered steps in the nuclear fission diagram a. A neutron strikes a nucleus of uranium-235. b. The nucleus becomes unstable and splits into two smaller nuclei, releasing stray neutrons and energy. c. The stray neutrons hit nearby uranium-235 nuclei, thus continuing the chain reaction.
Where did the United States conduct all of its nuclear testing following World War II? At the Bikini Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands. They are located in the Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and Japan
Describe Shot Able and Shot Baker, the two blasts that were detonated as part of Operation Crossroads. Which one caused more nuclear fallout? Shot Baker, the underwater blast, caused far more fallout
How was Castle Bravo different than the Operation Crossroads blasts? Why did it cause so much more international alarm? Castle Bravo was a hydrogen bomb, with a much more powerful blast. The fallout released from this was greater than expected, and caused the contamination of nearby islands and a Japanese fishing boat.
What is more dangerous, 100 rems of radiation exposure from an external source, or 100 rems of radiation exposure from an internal source (e.g. something you breathe in or eat)? Why? The internal radiation exposure is much more damaging, because it directly affects internal tissues. External exposure is at least partially blocked by the skin.
When Dwight Eisenhower gave the “Atoms for Peace” speech, what constructive use of nuclear energy was he introducing? Nuclear power plants.
What is a containment building? Prevents the escape of radiation to the outside.
What are control rods? Inserted or removed to change the rate of the fission reaction.
What are fuel rods? Contain the uranium-235 needed to fuel the fission reaction.
What are pumps for in a nuclear power plant? Move warm and cold water through the plant.
What is a turbine? Spins in response to the movement of high pressure steam from boiling water.
What is a generator? Connected to the turbine; generates electric current
What is a cooling tower for in a nuclear power plant> Releases excess heat and steam.
Why do nuclear reactors have three separate water loops instead of just a single one that runs from the water source, through the reactor, then back to the cooling tower? By separating the water loops, you ensure that the coolant water that is directly in contact with the radioactive fuel rods has no way of escaping to the outside environment.
Under normal circumstances, what exactly is emitted by a nuclear power plant? Only non-radioactive steam/ water vapor
Explain what two events led to the end of the boom in nuclear reactor construction of the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. The release of the movie The China Syndrome and the Three Mile Island partial meltdown occurred within 10 days of each other. This left an extremely negative perception with the public in regards to nuclear energy.
What was the major failure that led to the Three Mile Island partial meltdown? A pressure release valve was kept open, allowing excess water to escape from the reactor core. The fuel rods, partially exposed, began to overheat and melt.
Briefly describe the three design flaws at the Chernobyl plant that made the explosion and meltdown such a disaster. a .Graphite was used as coolant instead of water. When the explosion occurred, the graphite burned, releasing fallout. b. containment structure was insufficient c. storage pool of water was below the core. if the core meltedinto this water, it would
What event and subsequent failure led to the Fukushima meltdown? A massive earthquake created a tsunami that overwhelmed the floodwalls at Fukushima. This shut down the generators powering the water pumps, which led to the core overheating and melting down.
Describe the difference between low-level waste and high-level waste from nuclear reactors. Low-level waste includes clothes and other protective materials used by the workers. High-level waste is the depleted fuel rods.
What geographic features of Yucca Mountain in Nevada made it such an attractive location for a nuclear waste repository? Why were these plans eventually cancelled? Yucca Mountain is in a dry desert, it is geologically stable, and far away from large population centers. They were cancelled because of objections of residents of the state.
Compare how transmutation and geologic disposal deal with nuclear waste. Transmutation converts the waste isotopes into other, less dangerous isotopes. Geologic disposal injects the fuel rods into a deep underground formation where they are permanently sealed away.
Approximately how much of Michigan's total energy generation is from nuclear power? about 20%
Explain your stand on Nuclear Power after the Nuclear Town Meeting? Would you vote for or against Nuclear Power in Avon Dale? Explain your reasoning. You must explain why you are for or against nuclear power in Avon Dale.
Created by: Amatulli Science