Essay on How A Nuclear Power Plant Works

1666 Words May 16th, 2016 7 Pages
How a Nuclear Power Plant Works

What is nuclear fission? How does it work? What does it have to do with nuclear power plants? These are a few of the many questions asked if one hasn’t ever studied nuclear power or doesn’t know how a power plant works. Nuclear fission is the splitting of atoms, which in nuclear fission is uranium atoms. The nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons, very densely packed together (Union of Concerned Scientists). A neutron is released at a targeted nucleus of uranium-235. Two or three neutrons are released from the target nucleus along with fission products, or other nuclei, as seen in Picture 1. This process starts a chain reaction. If too many neutrons are present, the reaction may get out of control. If too few are present, the reaction may stop.

Nuclear Fission

Picture 1

Nuclear Fission

Nuclear fission is almost the same thing as fission, but nuclear fission has one minor difference; its purpose is to produce energy. Fission is the main chemistry behind nuclear reactors and the power plant as a whole. Radiation is another addition to the chemistry involved in the production of nuclear power. The unstable atoms in the fission process give off radiation. This produces a risk in creating nuclear power, and causes many people to be against it. In the case that the reaction must be stopped, boron is the chemical used. One of boron’s properties is its ability to absorb large amounts of neutrons. This is why boron is used. There are many…

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