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Chemistry open book paper - Nuclear Fission and Fusion

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Chemistry Open Book Paper Alpha and Beta Decay During radioactive decay, atoms of one element are changed into atoms of another element through the emission of alpha or beta particles from their unstable nuclei. With alpha decay the nucleus emits an alpha particle, which is essentially a helium nucleus; a group of two protons and two neutrons. It is a form of nuclear fission where the parent atom splits into two daughter products. The atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle and transforms (or 'decays') into an atom with a mass number 4 less and atomic number 2 less. For example: An alpha particle is the same as a helium-4 nucleus. Unlike beta decay, alpha decay is governed by the strong nuclear force. In beta decay, a neutron in the nucleus of an atom is converted into a proton and an electron. The electron is released as a beta particle. Below is the beta decay of Thorium to produce Protactinium. . In beta minus decay, the weak interaction converts a neutron into a proton while emitting an electron and an anti-neutrino. During beta-plus decay, a proton in an atom's nucleus turns into a neutron, emitting a positron and a neutrino. ...read more.


Two other mechanisms used for controlling the reaction are the graphite moderator and the control rods, which are made of boron coated steel. The neutrons that are produced when a nucleus splits are very fast moving; the graphite slows them down enough so that they cause fission reactions when they collide with Uranium-235 nuclei. The control rods which are made of Boron which absorb neutrons; they can be moved in and out of the reactor to control the rate of fission reactions. A typical absorption reaction is: Below is a cross section of the inside of a typical nuclear power plant: Notable advantages of fission include the fact that relatively little fuel is needed and the fuel is relatively inexpensive and available in trace amounts around the world. Also, it is not believed to contribute to global warming or other pollution effects associated with fossil fuel combustion. However, its major concerns include the possibility for a nuclear meltdown; an example could be the Chernobyl Disaster. Also, waste products can be used to manufacture weapons; waste from plutonium power stations remains dangerous for thousands of years. There is also high initial cost because the plant requires containment safeguards; even then, the power plants are still vulnerable from sabotage and attacks. ...read more.


Other issues include the potentially prohibitive costs of building, and the difficulties of repairing and maintaining the reaction vessel. This massive "blanket" of lithium and rare metals will degrade and become radioactive over time, requiring regular dismantling and replacement. No. Words - 357+368+294+145 = 1164 (excluding equations, titles, annotations and text in diagrams) - sorry! Sources http://www.answers.com/topic/nucleosynthesis?cat=technology - Nucleosynthesis http://helios.gsfc.nasa.gov/nucleo.html - Nucleosynthesis http://physics.bu.edu/py106/notes/RadioactiveDecay.html - Alpha and beta equations http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/bb_tests_ele.html - Nucleosynthesis http://chemed.chem.purdue.edu/genchem/topicreview/bp/ch23/modes.php - Alpha and Beta decay http://media.nasaexplores.com/lessons/01-060/images/Uran235.jpg - Fission of uranium-235 http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/nucene/fusion.html - Nuclear fusion http://www.iter-india.res.in/images/jet_tokamak.jpg - Tokamak image, Fig 5 http://www.newscientist.com/channel/fundamentals/dn8827-no-future-for-fusion-power-says-top-scientist.html - Problems for fusion power http://eazyvg.linuxoss.com/2007/08/21/fusion-is-the-future-choice-for-nuclear-power-generation/ - Fission and fusion diagrams, advantages and disadvantages of fission and fusion. Fig 1 and 3 http://www.physlink.com/Education/AskExperts/ae534.cfm - Bond energy per nucleon, Fig 5 Article 1 - Box 1 - pg3 Article 1 - Second paragraph under "Nuclear fission" - pg4-5 Article 1 - Box 2 - Used for finding out control mechanisms - pg6 Article 2 - Advantages of fusion power, ways it produces energy - pg8 Article 2 - Box 2 - Lithium generation and equations - pg9 Article 2 - Box 2 - Fusion reactions - pg10 Article 2 - Tokamak, problems facing scientists - pg10 ?? ?? ?? ?? Alain Ashford 1 ...read more.

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