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Is there another way for nuclear reactor?

  1. Nov 15, 2007 #1
    I know we use radioactive elements in nuclear reactors and the heat given of to generate electricity in the traditional steam driven turbine way, at least thats what I read. I was wondering why we can't make it more efficient through double electron capture and use captured electrons given off in the form of radiation to be the electricity in itself. I know it is obviously not easy or perhaps near impossible, otherwise it would have been done. But I was wondering why it can't?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2007 #2


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    I dont know what kind of reaction you are talking about now. First double electron capture, and then you want to use the captured electrons given off in the radiation to be the electricity? In electron capture, electrons are fusing with a proton in the nucleus, converting it into a neutron + neutrino. So i see no way to gain energy from this. You must first have a large electron beam to make nucleus capture electrons (very small cross section for electron captures in general), and then you only gain some neutrinos that you cant catch.
  4. Nov 16, 2007 #3


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    Reactors get their energy as a result of nuclear fission. There is also some significant energy from the radioactive fission products. However the U235 and Pu239 both have long half-lives so their radioactivity contributes essentially nothing to the energy output.
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