Nuclear Energy to create Electricity
In all power plants, indirectly, a turbine is used to create electricity. But in a nuclear reactor, nothing is burnt. In fact, A uranium atom undergoes a process called nuclear fission to create heat which is then used to boil the water. As a result, nuclear plants do not release any harmful chemical gases into the environment
After the discovery of protons by Rutherford and electron by Thomson, scientists still couldn't explain why several same elements weighed the same. James Chadwick then discovered the neutron - the third subatomic particle and explained why same elements weighted different amounts. These different elements with different weights are known as isotopes.
Scientist started to bombard atoms with protons and alpha particles in hopes of splitting the atom and create energy but failed since they both were positively charged and repealed.
Italian physicist Enrico Fermi decided he could use neutrons as they have no charge, could hit the nucleus of an atom without being repelled. He had created new radioactive elements. He had just discovered nuclear fission
Uranium is the heaviest naturally occurring element with an atomic number of 92 and one isotope of Uranium - Uranium-235 undergoes fission extremely easily. For fission to occur, the isotope must first absorb the additional neutrons which then splits the atom into smaller nuclei. During this process, a large amount of energy and two or three more neutrons are released. The additional neutrons are then absorbed by more uranium nuclei, causing them to split which releases more neutrons and so on. This chain reaction is called Nuclear fission. According to Einstein's famous equation E = mc², where E is energy, m is mass and c is the speed of light, matter can be converted into energy. The more mass you have, the more energy you're able to create. When uranium splits into two or more parts it has more matter to lose. This loss of mass, as tiny as an atom may be, can quickly build up.
This example shows the Uranium atom splitting into two different atoms of Krypton and Barium. Additional three neutrons are also released which will go and initiate another reaction.
Using Uranium to boil water and to spin turbines is clean and efficient. Several thousand pellets of uranium make up the core of a reactor in a nuclear power plant. 75 tons of uranium is needed to output 1000 megawatts. In the reactor, the uranium undergoes fission, creating lots of heat. The products remain in the core and undergo radioactive decay, releasing little heat and are now considered as the waste products.
The core is inside a pressure vessel, so that water around it remains liquid even at the operating temperature of over 320°C. Steam is formed, and it drives the turbine to produce electricity. The steam is then condensed, and the water recycled.
Many forms of traditional power generation require fossil fuels and release harmful chemicals in ...