The study of radiation and radioactive materials and it's creation, safety, and applications.

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31
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2answers
3k views

Cause for spikes in trinity bomb test

In Richard Rhodes' book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, I was reading about the Trinity nuclear test. High speed photos were taken and this one is from <1ms after the detonation. The book mentions ...
3
votes
1answer
41 views

Nuclear fission plant loss of coolant accident (LOCA): how bad could it get?

In 1979 the world experienced its first severe nuclear plant accident at Three Miles Island, when TMI-2 underwent a LOCA with devastating consequences for the reactor core. About 50 % of it melted and ...
3
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1answer
66 views

Fission bomb: How much of it burns?

I am wondering about measured data on how efficient fission bombs were say the first ones. Since the fission in chain reaction releases large amounts of energy in fractions of a second, I imagine ...
2
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1answer
43 views

Why do products of nuclear decay have a lower mass than the original nucleus, when the sum of the mass of its nucleons is larger? [duplicate]

I've just started covering the topic of binding energy in Year 13 at school (final year before University). The definition we've been given of binding energy is that it is the work done when ...
1
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0answers
17 views

Why are heavy elements used in nuclear power plants? [duplicate]

I've seen that the energy produced by breaking an oxygen atom's nucleus is equivalent to burning a LOT of coal, 4.6 million metric tons if I remember correctly. (Crash Course Chemistry) If that is ...
1
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0answers
20 views

How much water do nuclear plants release as steam? [closed]

I'm not sure if this is the right site, but I was wondering how much water is released by today's nuclear plants during normal operation.
1
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2answers
119 views

Why do people say nuclear fusion is 50 years away? [closed]

This '50 years' number is floating around media pretty consistently, even the ITER road map claims that the first commercial reactor will happen post-2050. But why is that? I understand that there is ...
-1
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1answer
45 views

Managing nuclear waste [closed]

Suppose you are trying to dispose of used uranium fuel rods. Once they are cooled and contained in zirconium pods, how would one try and send those pods to the earths core? This is all hypothetical. ...
4
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1answer
132 views

Why are cooling towers at nuclear power plants shaped the way they are?

The iconic cooling towers at most nuclear power plants are shaped like hyperboloids. Wikipedia mentions that this is because the wide base promotes thin film evaporation and the narrow point ...
1
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2answers
177 views

The NERVA had to use liquid H2… But why?

The NERVA engine, developed at the late 60ies, was a nuclear thermal rocket developed for vacuum use in space craft. It was supposed to use Liquid Hydrogen, a cryogenic fuel with quite a few issues ...
2
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1answer
80 views

Smallest possible size of nuclear reactor [closed]

I recently began playing Fallout 4 and asked myself a question: Would it be possible to build a power armor with todays technology? I did some investigation on servomotors and stuff and came to ...
0
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0answers
18 views

Criticality in liquid thorium fluoride reactors

I have been reading up a bit about LFTRs over the past few days. Regarding safety, the argument of the people is that at the bottom of the reactor, there will be a salt plug that will be cooled by air ...
0
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2answers
28 views

Can multiple adjacent reactors use neutron reflector walls in common to save mass?

Reactor designs like fission-fragment and some others use large masses of neutron reflectors to attain criticality. (For that matter, the very first pile did too, and in a staggered form rather ...
1
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2answers
34 views

Nuclear transmutation of radioactive waste using high-energy neutrons

How likely does this work: Accelerate neutrons to as high energy as possible (particle accelerators/ cosmic rays ...) and hit (small samples of) our radioactive waste with it such that it is converted ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

Nuclear to Electricity Energy Conversion

Currently nuclear power generates heat, which heats water into steam that turns conventional turbines. The energy conversion is as follows: photonic->heat->kinetic->electric This would result in low ...
0
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1answer
28 views

Stabilizing Radioactive Fission products

So most fission products have very long half-lives. But i noticed that if a neutron is added the half life becomes a fraction of what it originally was, so could this be a possible method of ridding ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

How does neutron reflection work?

What I mean here isn't what is it used for, but what's actually going on with the reflector. There are a lot of sub questions to this. how much energy is lost in the act of reflection. not ...
15
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2answers
2k views

How to detect a secret nuclear detonation here on the earth?

How can we know that North Korea and Iran (to name a few) are exploding nuclear weapons if no inspectors have ever been granted access to suspected nuclear sites in these countries? How can we ...
4
votes
1answer
104 views

Why would an alpha-beryllium neutron source generating a radioisotope not produce controllable net power?

I have a question. I was looking through the table of nuclides and noticed that the energy needed to produce certain radioisotopes was less than the energy given off by the radioactive decay of that ...
2
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0answers
27 views

Is the spontaneous fission-yield curve for 240Pu known?

I have not seen any data for the isotopes produced by spontaneous fission of plutonium. I believe this will be dominated by 240Pu as the major even-numbered isotope produced in reactor operations. I ...
25
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5answers
3k views

Is it possible to build a thermoelectric nuclear power plant?

Current nuclear power plants are essentially an enhanced version of a kettle, which seems like a stupidity caused by a lack of other options. We heat the water which turns to steam which rotates the ...
2
votes
1answer
158 views

From which height the effect of nuclear bomb will be Greater?

Well I was wondering like during war some of them drop nuclear bomb on ground and then it explode and we see a huge blast which causes so much of destruction but my question is that is it possible ...
4
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2answers
356 views

Another cold-fusion reactor scheme :) Is it feasible?

I have this idea rolling in my head for quite a while, but lately I got really interested to know if it's even remotely feasible. I am complete novice to the field of nuclear engineering and cold ...
1
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1answer
137 views

What is the difference between zero background radiation and field background radiation in Nuclear Physics measurements?

Can someone please explain the difference between these two terms (Zero Background Radiation and Field Background Radiation) used in radiometric prospecting measurements?
0
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2answers
187 views

Could a Nuclear Reactor Run (controllably) in Prompt-Critical Mode?

Could a nuclear reactor run (controllably) in Prompt-Critical mode? It would have a much higher power output than a normal nuclear reactor. Could it be controlled by some high-tech material that ...
3
votes
2answers
629 views

Why are neutron absorption cross sections high at low incident energy?

For example, U-235 fission cross section looks like this: As I understand it, the resonances peaks correspond to discrete quantum states of the excited compound nucleus. As you go higher, the ...
0
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1answer
148 views

How long remains a boron control rod?

I was wondering today, how long boron control rods remains in a nuclear power plant? When a boron atom absorbs two neutrons, it becomes the unstable isotope boron-12 and and the boron nuclei starts ...
1
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1answer
42 views

Are there other natural reactors than the Oklo mine? Any still active?

Actually my question is more whether any other natural reactor has been found, despite the one at Oklo. And whether there are any known active natural reactors these days. Bonus question: if there ...
0
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0answers
54 views

thresholds for Cherenkov radiation visible to the human eye

In pool-type fission reactors, the beautiful Cherenkov radiation from the beta decay of intermediate products seems to be a well-understood phenomenon. I am wondering what some ballpark figures are ...
2
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2answers
127 views

Can a nuclear reactor be used as a space-based weapon?

Imagine you have a ship, running on power from a nuclear reactor. We will assume this ship uses some kind of advanced technology that allows nuclear reactors to function in a microgravity environment. ...
0
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1answer
142 views

What is the relation between the half-time and the line-width of a radioactive nucleus?

Are they inversely proportional to each other? This is the case for the atoms, I think. The problem is that, for those isotopes like uranium 238, the half-time is as long as 4.4 billion years, and ...
1
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1answer
85 views

Would it be possible to “recycle” nuclear warheads into nuclear energy? [closed]

The number of nuclear warheads in the world is estimated (!) to be over 16,000. [0] Surely, this stockpile represents a massive threat to humanity. My question is simple. Can we repurpose these ...
0
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0answers
35 views

Why does U-235 split into barium and krypton in nuclear reactors? [duplicate]

For my chemistry project I have found the typical fission reaction which occurs in nuclear power plants is when nuclear fuel rods are bombarded with neutrons, splitting U-235 into isotopes barium and ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

Why do NNLC and NIST appear to give different values for the mass energy of the deuteron?

There is a problem with data that I've obtained over the internet. Here are the two sources of information from which I'm retrieving my data. NNLC and NIST On NIST, I have read that the mass excess ...
2
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2answers
213 views

What's the largest mushroom cloud possible from a coffee cup/grenade sized nuclear bomb?

Assuming the coffee cup is $16$oz = $1$lb = $0.4536$kg or $ \sim 450$mL I did a quick comparison to the W54 assuming there was a linear ratio (wishful thinking perhaps), and got it to be around 8m ...
29
votes
5answers
7k views

How do control rods work?

I understand the basic idea of nuclear fission: put a bunch of fissionable material together and let the neutrons fly. An atom gets split, kicking out a few more neutrons, which split other atoms, ...
1
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1answer
176 views

Radiation level risk: mSV, exposure and current status of chernobyl area

I was watching this two videos from youtube. One is a documentary about Chernobyl disaster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5vlk_d6hrc Another is a random personal video: ...
0
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2answers
130 views

Fusion reactors why does size matter?

I've been following articles about fusion recently, and with the ITER project mostly. I have noticed that their view point is they need to build a large scale reactor in order to achieve their goals. ...
1
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1answer
326 views

How to calculate scalar neutron flux

I am really confused about the difference between flux and scalar flux. I have a specific question: If we have a parallel neutron beam of strength $\phi_0$ given in neutrons/cm$^2$s, incident on a ...
1
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2answers
364 views

Is the E-Cat by Andrea Rossi et al. proof that cold fusion can work? [duplicate]

A team of researchers have tested a device (the E-Cat) produced by a team in Italy led by Andrea Rossi and claim that its 'abundant heat production' together with the change in the composition of its ...
0
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1answer
97 views

How long must a sample be irradiated before all 59-Co atoms are converted to 60-Co? [closed]

For the interaction, n$^0$ + $^{59}$Co $\to$ $^{60}$Co
2
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2answers
147 views

Advanced Molten Salt Reactor - Is the concept of designing a reactor that uses spent nuclear fuel to generate power technically feasible?

I was going through the concept of designing a Nuclear Reactor that uses Spent Nuclear Fuel(SNF) to generate power as proposed by Transatomic Power . ...
4
votes
2answers
76 views

How do you measure neutron energy?

I think you can detect a neutron event with a scintillator (neutron to photon), photomultiplier tube (photon to electric signal) system, but how would a fusion neutron's energy (2.45 MeV) be typically ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

Why is the D+T fuel inside a pellet in two distintic regions in fusion after compression

Could anyone explain why the D+T inside the pellet is in two distinct regions? And why the center is a lot less dense than the outside region? I have been trying to find answers online but i cant ...
0
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1answer
78 views

The formation of shockwave inside pellets in inertial confinement fusion

In the explanations i have read on the internet about ICF they all explain that the top layer of the pellet or the ablator is heated till it explodes and this produces a reaction force which compress ...
-1
votes
2answers
191 views

Is fission reaction considered natural or artificial? [closed]

As I learned, nuclear fission doesn't occur without the control of a human made nuclear reactor, by hitting a neutron to a fissile isotope. Thus, the fission reaction is considedred as a part of ...
1
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0answers
102 views

Thorium based nuclear reactor [closed]

My question is how thorium works as a radioactive nuclear fuel and what are the special properties of thorium based nuclear reactor.
1
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2answers
56 views

Explosive energy in a container [closed]

What happens when the explosive energy of a grenade or a bomb is contained in a container, if you will, and no energy can be released through the container in the form of heat or sound etc...? Just ...
14
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1answer
227 views

Spallation neutron generation and pure U-238 reactors

Main question: Is it possible to achieve net power generation based on linear proton accelerator and U-238 target? In the proposed reactor design there is a proton beam with energy ~10 GeV, and on ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Which experiment gave scientists reason to believe nuclear fission/fusion produced energy?

Every piece of knowledge in science has a beginning lying in someone's experiment. I would like to know which experiment gave scientists the reason to believe nuclear fission/fusion existed and was ...