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Nuclear Fuels

Questions

  1. What is nuclear power?

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Background Information

Take Away (Main) Points

This is a vast topic - these points are not comprehensive to this topic.
  1. There are three main types of nuclear reactions: fission, fusion and radioactive decay.
  2. There are three main types of radioactive emissions: alpha particles, beta particles and gamma radiation.
  3. A nuclear power plant uses the heat from fission reactions to turn water to steam, turn a turbine and generate electricity.
  4. The sun is a fusion reactor fusing hydrogen into helium. We cannot use fusion to generate electricity.
  5. Uranium-235 is a radioactive isotope of uranium that is used in fission reactors.
  6. Nuclear power plants do not release CO2 into the atmosphere but carbon dioxide is emitted during the mining of uranium.
  7. There are three very serious nuclear powerplant accidents: Three mile island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima Daiichi.
  8. Nuclear power plants generate radioactive waste.
  9. 104 nuclear reactors in 31 states operate 24/7, producing almost 20 percent of U.S. electricity while emitting no carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide (a precursor to ground-level ozone).
  10. Nuclear power plants provided 13.5 percent of the world's electricity production in 2010. In total, 13 countries relied on nuclear energy to supply at least one-quarter of their total electricity.

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