Flashcards in Nuclear Fission Deck (12):
What is nuclear fission?
The splitting up of big atomic nuclei
Nuclear power stations generate electricity using...
What happens in a nuclear reactor?
A controlled chain reaction takes place in which atomic nuclei split up and release energy in the form of heat. This heat is then used to heat water to make steam which is used to drive a steam turbine connected to an electricity generator
What is the 'fuel' used in nuclear power stations?
Usually Uranium-235 though sometimes it's plutonium-239 (sometimes both)
For nuclear fission to happen, a [ ] moving neutron must be absorbed into a uranium or [ ] nucleus. This addition of a neutron makes the nucleus [ ], causing it to split.
Each time a uranium/plutonium nucleus splits up, it spits out 2 or 3 [ ], 1 of which might hit another nucleus, causing it to [ ] also, and thus keeping the [ ] going.
When a large atom splits in 2 what happens?
It will form 2 new smaller nuclei. These new nuclei are usually radioactive because they have the 'wrong' number of neutrons in them
Nuclear fission gives out ...
Lots of energy (more than in chemical reactions)
Why are nuclear bombs more powerful than other bombs?
Normal bomb = chemical process
Nuclear processes release much more energy than chemical processes do.
What is the main problem with nuclear power?
Disposal of waste. The products left over after nuclear fission are highly radioactive, so they can't just be thrown away. They're very difficult and expensive to dispose of safely.
Describe the costs of nuclear power
Nuclear fuel is cheap but the overall cost of nuclear power is high due to the cost of the power plant and final decommissioning. Dismantling a nuclear plant safely takes decades.