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

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Project Orion pusher plate computer modeling

Linked from the space.stackexchange forum: http://space.stackexchange.com/questions/15051/orion-project-npp-pusher-plate-computer-models-and-survivability Project Orion is discussed as if it is a ...
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51 views

Why is the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power plant so expensive? [on hold]

The proposed dual-reactor nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in England is projected to cost some 35 billion dollars. Why is so expensive? The linked article just says because nuclear power plants ...
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32 views

Why build so big sarcophagus in Chernobyl instead another alternative? [on hold]

As title, why build so big sarcophagus in Chernobyl? The new sarcophagus is really tall, large and expensive and it should cover the old one. But there is already a sarcophagus build over another ...
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1answer
147 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 ...
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5answers
89 views

Could we use nuclear bombs to generate electricity? [closed]

it seems the biggest problem with fusion power is confinement. on the other hand, we developed a fusion bomb in just a few years. i was wondering if it could be economically viable to use nuclear ...
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1answer
28 views

Is is possible to create a nuclear fusion reactor on a satellite and use it to produce heat

I am not a physicist but I would really like to know what trained physicists think about this problem that came up in conversation the other day. I have been reading about the search for habitable ...
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1answer
45 views

Why is it necessary to enrich Uranium and Plutonium before they can be used in nuclear warheads?

The World Nuclear Association(WNA) states: Weapons-grade uranium is highly enriched, to over 90% U-235 (the fissile isotope).Weapons-grade plutonium has over 93% Pu-239 However, what WNA or ...
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1answer
44 views

what is the analog of electronics for quarks or protons?

Is there an equivalent field for quarks or for protons as there is electronics for electrons where you can build engineer and mess around with things? May be even hack ?
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1answer
33 views

Mass-energy conversion mechanism in supernovas

Fusion of nuclei inside stars switches from exothermic to endothermic for Iron and elements heavier than Iron. Supernovas not only achieve fusion of transuranides (albeit in trace relative ...
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2answers
35 views

Control rods in RBMK - what is the difference between control rods which are inserted from above or below?

So, in Wikipedia it says the following: "Most of the reactor control rods are inserted from above; 24 shortened rods are inserted from below and are used to augment the axial power distribution ...
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5answers
5k views

Help! An 8 year old asked me how to build a nuclear power plant [closed]

I would really like to give an explanation similar to this one. Here's my current recipe: (i) Mine uranium, for example take a rock from here (picture of uranium mine in Kazakhstan). (ii) Put the ...
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19 views

Using ion radiation to make electricity? [duplicate]

Is it possible to capture the ion radiation from a nuclear source and make electricity from it? I always thought it was possible, but never looked into it? Is this what a beta voltaic battery does?
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62 views

X-ray shielding

X-ray shielding, why is lead used to shield us when taking X-ray images? As far as I remember (but can't find it on wikipedia ... ), the deflection on (high energy) photons increases the more heavier ...
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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 ...
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1answer
68 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 ...
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1answer
71 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 ...
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1answer
55 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
144 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 ...
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21 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.
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3answers
8k views

Would being underwater help survive a nuclear bomb?

If I jump in my pool, on the river near my house knowing that a nuclear bomb, or atomic or H-Bomb exploded around 10 km from my house, would I survive? The way I see it is that water will protect me ...
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2answers
169 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 ...
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2answers
139 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. ...
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2answers
345 views

What is the theoretical wattage output of a Tokamak fusion reactor?

By that I mean the complete radiative wattage of any type of energetic radioactivity or electromagnetic wave or even particle if that's what they output. My purpose is to compare this to the suns ...
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2answers
257 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 ...
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1answer
49 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. ...
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2answers
190 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 ...
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1answer
96 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
34 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 ...
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20 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 ...
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1answer
29 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 ...
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How would a black hole power plant work?

A black hole power plant (BHPP) is something I'll define here as a machine that uses a black hole to convert mass into energy for useful work. As such, it constitutes the 3rd kind of matter-energy ...
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1answer
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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?
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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, ...
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1answer
98 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 ...
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1answer
146 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 ...
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4answers
11k views

Why build nuclear reactors on shorelines?

While not directly a physics question, I can't think of forum better capable of answering my question. In discussions over Japan's nuclear reactor situation the observation was made that reactors ...
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2answers
170 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 . ...
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847 views

Would sea water moderate a nuclear submarine meltdown?

My son asked me: If nuclear submarines get sunk or blown up, what is to stop them going into nuclear meltdown? I thought about it and came to the conclusion that because they're in the sea the ...
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1answer
185 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 ...
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265 views

Saturn V F-1 engines and beyond

I read that the F-1 engine from the 1st stage of the Saturn V rocket is the most powerful engine ever created by mankind, delivering ~200 gigawatts of power. Thus, I have got two questions: Will ...
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5answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
126 views

Nuclear based wireless power?

I would like to ask if there is any Nuclear process which can be used to produce a wireless power ? Is there any nuclear process can be radiate to the environment with no harm to human beings? ...
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9answers
9k views

Why don't modern spacecraft use nuclear power?

The Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft launched in 1977 with Plutonium as their source of electricity. 34 years later they claim these two spacecraft have enough power to last them until at least 2020. That ...
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4answers
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Why can't there be a trap door under nuclear reactors in case of meltdown?

This may be a naive question, but after the Fukushima Daiichi partial meltdown and studying the aftermath of Chernobyl it seems they could be helped by this idea. In Chernobyl, the liquidators that ...
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11answers
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Can a nuclear reactor meltdown be contained with molten lead?

If lead can absorb or block radiation, would it be possible to pump molten lead into a reactor core which is melting, so that it would eventually cool and contain the radiation? Is there something ...
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3answers
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why aren't there nuclear powered aircraft?

I know this might sound like more of an engineering question that about physics, and it probably is, but bear with me: i'm still not sure if the answer to my question lies in the physics or in the ...