What is Nuclear reactors: Definition and 35 Discussions

A nuclear reactor, formerly known as an atomic pile, is a device used to initiate and control a fission nuclear chain reaction or nuclear fusion reactions. Nuclear reactors are used at nuclear power plants for electricity generation and in nuclear marine propulsion. Heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid (water or gas), which in turn runs through steam turbines. These either drive a ship's propellers or turn electrical generators' shafts. Nuclear generated steam in principle can be used for industrial process heat or for district heating. Some reactors are used to produce isotopes for medical and industrial use, or for production of weapons-grade plutonium. As of early 2019, the IAEA reports there are 454 nuclear power reactors and 226 nuclear research reactors in operation around the world.

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  1. xpell

    Could a high / very high temperature nuclear reactor operate in Venus?

    Hi. I'm just a curious person with high-school-level scientific knowledge. However, I was wondering if a specially-engineered Generation IV high or very high temperature (800-1,000ºC) nuclear reactor could work in Venus using the local atmosphere at 450ºC as "coolant", just like a "typical"...
  2. Northmeadow

    NRC Event Report SCRAM Code help

    I am a dedicated nuclear physics and radiology enthusiast who often looks at the NRC’s event notification reports for information about our countries nuclear industry and the status of our reactors. And every time I read the report and an event occurs at a commercial reactor they are required to...
  3. jugren

    Nuclear Chain Reaction Conditions

    Hi all, For my studies I chose a course on scaling up and down of industrial processes (mostly focussed on the chemical industry), but for our project we (a group of students who knew almost nothing about nuclear reactors) chose to look if the approach (dimensional analysis) can be applied to...
  4. Mackenzie Cobb

    Why isn't tungsten used in nuclear reactors?

    Me again, with another potentially ignorant nuclear science question: Why isn't tungsten used to prevent meltdown in nuclear reactors? If tungsten has a higher melting point of tungsten is almost 6200 degrees Fahrenheit, and nuclear meltdown happens when the uranium fuel is some 5200 degrees...
  5. D

    Exploring Nuclear Power Technology: A Scientific Perspective

    Hello. My name is Dom Napolitano and I would like to create a thread on Nuclear Power Technology.
  6. K

    B Why uranium dioxide is used in nuclear reactors?

    In Wikipedia I read that Uranium-235 is a nuclear is fuel in fission reactors, also that Uranium-235 is split (fission) and energy is revealed. But in some images showing how nuclear reactors work, they show Uranium dioxide as nuclear fuel elements. In Wikipedia, it's written that the oxides...
  7. rfranceschetti

    Engineering Mech engineering work in nuclear reactors

    Hi all, I would like to know what's the kind of work a mechanical engineer has to perform when being part of the team encharged of building a fusion or a generic nuclear reactor. I find many areas in mechanical engineering attractive, but I believe that fusion reactors have great potential in...
  8. chandrahas

    What prevents high Beta plasma confinement and how to overcome the problems....

    In order to confine a plasma, the plasma pressure is supposed to be lower than the magnetic pressure. The ratio of the plasma pressure to the magnetic pressure is called beta . Theoretically, the value of beta is supposed to stay below one to confine a plasma, but can get close to it. But in...
  9. Andrew1949

    A How is iodine-131 produced in nuclear reactors?

    Hello, It seems everybody knows that iodine-131 is produced in nuclear reactors, but so far, I couldn't find any example of nuclear reactions starting with U-235 and leading to I-131...! Directly, undirectly, going through other fission products, going through beta decay... Nothing. I mean...
  10. victorhugo

    I Nuclear reactors and nuclear bombs

    First, where does the STEAM get it's energy from? The only answers I'll find it the typical, silly, "e=mc2", "from the nuclear fission". Well, heat doesn't just magically GET RELEASED, it needs to be transferred somehow. My guess is that the neutrons and other radioactive materials released in...
  11. wronski11

    Role of the control rods during the core cycle

    Dear all, I would like to learn more about what happens to CRs during the reactor cycle. At the beginning of the cycle large excess reactivity is present in the core and has to be compensated with burnable absorbers (lumped in rods and WABA coating), chemical shim and CRs. There are several...
  12. xpell

    Truck-deployed nuclear reactors antineutrino detector: range?

    Hi! I was reading this article about the possibility of detecting removals of "double-use" fissile materials from a known reactor using an antineutrino detector deployed in a truck "that uses 20 tons or less of scintillator material (and) could be fit into a 6-meter shipping container and parked...
  13. L

    My Diagram on Nuclear Reactors

    I created a diagram on nuclear reactors to advocate for the use of it. Tell me if you see anything I should change.
  14. A

    Idea for Aqueous Homogeneous Reactor

    How would a super-critical heavy water cooled and moderated two fluid aqueous homogeneous reactor with nitrate fuel work? Silicon carbide or alumina can be used as cladding for the internal seed core and blanket walls, with the silicon carbide on the blanket wall cladding stainless steel and...
  15. R

    Improving space nuclear reactors

    I am interested in nuclear reactors for space propulsion. I have a few questions about it. Nuclear fuel cells in ground based nuclear power plants can work for years before burning out. Why is it for nuclear space reactors they only last for hours? Also how can we improve the proportion of the...
  16. F

    Why can't we use nuclear waste in nuclear reactors?

    If nuclear waste is more radioactive than the nuclear fuel it is derived from, why can't it be used in a reactor?
  17. K

    How to prepare for R&D in nuclear power?

    What courses can I pursue after my undergrad education that will enable me to work on next gen nuclear technologies? What kinds of people work in these areas and what career paths do they choose? I've read a lot about the different kinds of people working on Gen 4 reactors(LFTRs, TWRs) and...
  18. A

    Why are nuclear reactors shape

    I am an aeronautical engineer and I am curious why do NE's design the reactor smokestacks to be shaped like elongated rocket nozzles? In general, the nozzle shape offers less drag and a cleaner exit of the flow upstream and downstream from the nozzle exit. In supersonic flow, the nozzle shape is...
  19. S

    Sorting Nuclear Reactors: Exploring Particle Manipulation

    Is there any manipulation of nuclear particle to sort out the nuclear reactor?
  20. M

    Nuclear Reactors, Atom Smashers, and Particle Accelerators

    What would be the difficulty of building each? I have read of Michio Kaku building an atom smasher (albeit it ruined the power flow to his house,) I have found a 200,000 volt generator so I presume that a particle accelerator would be possible, and my friend is currently working on a nuclear...
  21. P

    Detection of neutrinos from nuclear reactors vs. ambient neutrino noise

    Hello, In experiments such as KamLAND, it is expected to measure neutrinos emitted by Japan's nuclear reactors. Such experiments were built to find evidence for neutrino oscillation. Is there anyone who knows how one can make the difference between the neutrinos from nuclear reactors and...
  22. O

    High school kids building nuclear reactors?

    So occasionally I see something in the news about some teenage who built a nuclear reactor in his basement. And just the other day, my girlfriend told me that one of her clients mentioned that her boyfriend is a Physics major at my university, and has a nuclear reactor in his garage that he...
  23. H

    MSc Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors UK

    Hello I am finishing my physics degree and I am interested in doing postgraduate study in the area of nuclear physics. I was thinking about doing the course mentioned in the title, which is offered at the University of Birmingham. Does anyone know anything about this course, or other courses...
  24. B

    Heat Pipes in nuclear reactors

    Are there any reactors which employ heat pipes for heat removal ? If so can you send me links / details of published lit. TIA
  25. A

    Shouldn't we disable Nuclear Reactors in California?

    I don't know too much about nuclear power and reactors, so I would like to ask some things. I do realize that this isn't just science, but gets political and economical as well, so I decided to post in General discussion- so if you just want to talk about one area, or all three, either way is...
  26. D

    Nuclear Reactors: how you start the reaction?

    I understand how nuclear reactors work, and how to stop them. But I am not understanding how you start the reaction? The fuel rods are placed in, and then what? What actually gets the process going?
  27. A

    Understanding Nuclear Reactors: Clarifications Needed

    Regarding nuclear reactor I need some clarifiications; 1. During fisssioin of U-235 it is said that the temperature raises to several million degree celcius (in uncontrolled chain reation). But what will be temperature produced when a controlled chain reaction takes place inside a nuclear...
  28. M

    Do you know any professors working on Accelerator-Driven Nuclear Reactors?

    I have just finished my PhD in Statistics. My Masters Dissertation was on the topic of Accelerator Driven Nuclear Energy Systems. I would be very interested in continuing research on the subject as a post-doctoral student.
  29. T

    How Much Cooling Water is Needed for a 1000 MW Nuclear Reactor?

    convection...nuclear reactors...** hey guys, there is one question i am having a great deal of trouble trying to find formulas and stuff for out of my textbook and don't really have the time or patience to search through hundreds of google pages :bugeye:. so any help on this would be greatly...
  30. U

    How do gas core nuclear reactors work?

    "The Cavradyne engines were based on the assumption of years of research and development, during the 1980s and '90s, of gaseous core nuclear reactors and high-temperature ionized gases. Theory was presumed to have shown that gaseous uranium-235 could be made critical in a cavity reactor only...
  31. W

    Presentation on Nuclear Reactors

    Hi I am a gr.12 student and I have a project where I have to give a presentation along with 3 other group members. The topic is nuclear reactors, we have all the technical knowledge however we're not very good presenters and the teacher is a bit picky on that. So if anyone has any ideas on how...
  32. M

    Failures of Nuclear Reactors Materials

    Please Kindly porvide information about the failure of nuclear reactors materials
  33. Pengwuino

    What Countries Have Nuclear Reactors Producing Energy?

    What nations actually have commercial nuclear reactors producing energy for their country?
  34. R

    State of the art nuclear reactors?

    Hi I have a report to write title "state of the art nuclear reactors" however the content of this is up to my own interpretation.I have taken "state-of-the-art" to mean the highest level of development of a device/ technique at a particular time, so what would this mean in terms of nuclear...
  35. M

    The Facts About Nuclear Reactors: Churnobyl was an Exception

    1) Churnobyl was NOT even close to what a typical nuclear reactor is like. 2)Reactors never go Nuclear Bomb, it is impossible 3)all reactors in service today would never melt down to the point of getting to the ground water, or even the ground because the reaction stops almost imediatly and...