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Chapter 22.4 : Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion

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  • 1. Chapter 22.4
    Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion
  • 2. Objectives:
    Define nuclear fission, chain reaction, and nuclear fusion, and distinguish between them.
    Explain how a fission reaction is used to generate power.
    Discuss the possible benefits and the current difficulty of controlling fusion reactions.
  • 3. Nuclear Fission
    • In nuclear fission,a very heavy nucleus splits into more-stable nuclei of intermediate mass.
    • 4. Enormous amounts of energy are released.
    • 5. Nuclear fission can occur spontaneously or when nuclei are bombarded by particles.
    • A chain reactionis a reaction in which the material that starts the reaction is also one of the products and can start another reaction.
    • 6. The minimum amount of nuclide that provides the number of neutrons needed to sustain a chain reaction is called the critical mass.
    • 7. Nuclear reactorsuse controlled-fission chain reactions to produce energy and radioactive nuclides.
  • Nuclear Chain Reaction
  • 8. Nuclear Power Plants
    • Nuclear power plantsuse energy as heat from nuclear reactors to produce electrical energy.
    • 9. They have five main components: shielding, fuel, control rods, moderator, and coolant.
    1. Shieldingis radiation-absorbing material that is used to decrease exposure to radiation, especially gamma rays, from nuclear reactors.
    2. Uranium-235 is typically used as the fissile fuel.
    3. The coolant absorbs the energy as heat that is produced
    4. Control rodsare neutron-absorbing rods that help control the reaction by limiting the number of free neutrons
    5. A moderator is used to slow down the fast neutrons produced by fission.
  • 10. Nuclear Power Plant Model
  • 11. Nuclear Fusion
    • In nuclear fusion,low-mass nuclei combine to form a heavier, more stable nucleus.
    • 12. Nuclear fusion releases even more energy per gram of fuel than nuclear fission.
    • 13. If fusion reactions can be controlled, they could be used for energy generation.