What are radioactive isotopes?
Isotopes with unstable nuclei that decay by giving off radiation.
How many radionuclides are there?
What are the three main types of radioactive decay?
1. Alpha - helium nucleus (2 protons, 2 neutrons). Can be stopped by a piece of paper.
2. Beta - high energy electron. Can be stopped with thin metal.
3. Gamma - high energy, short wavelength light. Can not really be stopped. All three types of radiation can damage living cells.
What is radiation?
Light and what is emitted during radioactive decay.
What is ionizing radiation?
Any radiation that can produce ions. Short wavelengths of light.
What is non-ionizing radiation?
Any radiation that does not produce ions. Long wavelengths of light.
What is a half-life?
The time it takes for half of the radioactive atoms to decay.
What is fission?
One heavy nucleus splitting into two lighter ones.
What is fusion?
Two light nuclei joining to form a heavier one.
Draw the fission reaction used in most nuclear power plants.
U-235 + 1n --> splits into 2 much smaller daughter products + lots of energy + 3n
What are the advantages (pros) of using nuclear power to produce energy?
Produces almost no Greenhouse gases.
Nuclear power plants produce huge amounts of electricity in a single location.
What are the disadvantages (cons) of using nuclear power to produce energy?
Highly dangerous waste which lasts for thousands of years, there is no known way of dealing with this waste.
Accidents can release large amounts of radiation into the environment, harming both it and people.
Nuclear power plants can be targets for terrorism, either for causing an accident or for nuclear bomb material.
Inside a nuclear power plant
(A) Containment structure
(B) Control rods
(D) Steam generator
(E) Steam line
(I) Cooling water condenser
(J) Cooling tower
(K) Fuel rods