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

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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 ...
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3answers
838 views

Can a glass window protect from heat radiation?

I have been reading in this and found a statement saying : " Glass will not transmit heat radiation.". So now I am confused. If glass won't transmit heat radiation, then why do we feel hot when we sit ...
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1answer
24 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 ...
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26 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 ...
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1answer
78 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. ...
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4answers
7k 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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1answer
78 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 ...
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2answers
63 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 ...
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3answers
126 views

How to block neutrons

What is a good way to block neutrons and what is the mechanism that allows this? It's my understanding that polyethylene is somewhat effective. Why?
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88 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 ...
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1answer
61 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 ...
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3answers
593 views

If there is a meltdown at the Fukushima reactors, would the control rods melt also?

According to the reports, the shutdown procedures at all the Fukushima reactors were successful, and all the control rods were fully inserted. So - if there was a meltdown, would the control rods ...
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25 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 ...
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1answer
40 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 ...
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2answers
100 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 ...
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5answers
2k 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, ...
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1answer
76 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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67 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: ...
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2answers
301 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

Is the E-cat by Andrea Rossi et al. for real?

Does this thing really do what they say? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhvD4KuAEmo If it does, it looks like this will probably be the biggest breakthrough in science ever :)
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1answer
79 views

Use of fission products for electricity generation

Why can't we use fissions products for electricity production ? As far has I know fissions products from current nuclear power plants create enough 'waste' heat to boil water; and temperature ...
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4answers
2k views

Why aren't betavoltaics and alphavoltaics batteries widely used?

Betavoltaic batteries are devices which creates electricity from beta radiation of a radioactive material. Alphavoltaics operate similarly, using alpha radiation. The concept was invented roughly 50 ...
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6k 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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414 views

What is the most stable nuclide of an isobar?

From the semi-empirical mass formula, the mass of an atomic nucleus is $$M\left(A,Z\right)=Zm_p+(A-Z)m_n-\frac{E_b(A,Z)}{c^2}$$ I've been told (at first) that for a given mass number $A$, the most ...
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2answers
98 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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1answer
60 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 ...
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60 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 ...
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3answers
3k views

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 ...
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1answer
163 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 ...
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2answers
102 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 ...
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69 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.
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2answers
46 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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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7answers
2k views

Why does nuclear fuel not form a critical mass in the course of a meltdown?

A BWR reactor core may contain up to 146 tons of uranium. Why does it not form a critical mass when molten? Are there any estimates of the critical mass of the resulting zirconium alloy, steel, ...
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6answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
65 views

What decides fission products?

I am learning about nuclear fissions and learned about the fission fragment distribution. It was interesting to see that the fission fragments have unequal masses. I was wondering as to what governs ...
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1answer
54 views

What kind of research will go in nuclear fusion power once the commercial power plant is designed and implemented? [closed]

once the commercial nuclear power plant is built for electricity production , after this what kind of research does scientists do in nuclear fusion power. Why I am asking this question is ITER is ...
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82 views

Whether nuclear physics or nuclear engineering is suitable for doing research in nuclear fusion? [closed]

I want to do research in making nuclear fusion sustainable for electrical energy production , which field I should choose? and it is worth doing research in fusion now, since many of them are saying ...
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3answers
133 views

scrap iron for stopping a meltdown

Would it be possible in a Fukushima-style meltdown to halt the process (edit: I mean halting the meltdown process, not the actual nuclear processes) by dumping large amounts of iron into the vessel? ...
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2answers
159 views

Can Deuterium undergo a nuclear fusion without the presence of Tritium?

I've been reading about fusion fuels for a while now, and I understand that in Lithium-Deuterium fuel, the neutrons from the fission reaction bombard the Lithium to produce Tritium and the D-T ...
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1answer
111 views

How many gas centrifuges are needed to build two small nuke within a year? [closed]

imagine this is 1960-70.....a country has nuclear plants already (for peaceful purposes) now if they get the technology of gas centrifuges what things they are going to need for building two small ...
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1answer
49 views

Algorithm for distribution of radiation

Unstable atomic nuclei will spontaneously decompose to form nuclei with a higher stability. What is the algorithm for deciding what sort of it is? (alpha, beta, gamma, etc. Also, given that alpha and ...
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2answers
602 views

Is there a sound theoretical argument against inner-shell induced nuclear chain reactions?

There is a claim often made about cold fusion, that it is excluded theoretically. The main theoretical argument is that electronic energies are too low to overcome the Coulomb barrier, since d-d ...
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3answers
407 views

Neutrons reflective materials in nuclear reactors

Nuclear reactors are driven away from criticality with the use of control rods which absorb neutrons. In case of overheating and melting of the core, the control rods may not be inserted any more ...
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1answer
112 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
379 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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3answers
2k views

Can antimatter be used as fuel for nuclear reactors?

I completely understand the difficulties of making and storing antimatter, so I am not talking about the mechanism or the way of doing it here, I am just talking about the concept. As far as I know, ...
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1answer
141 views

How to solve the Fukushima incident?

I am trying to find out if it is somehow possible to take all this nuclear material, put it in some type of gamma chamber or blast it with neutrons to change the uranium isotopes into something ...
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4answers
375 views

Is a Rubbia thorium reactor safer than other modern reactor types?

I keep wondering how a Rubbia thorium reactor would handle a natural disaster of Fukushima level intensity. As I understand it the nuclear chain reaction would stop instantly if the power is cut, but ...