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Homework Help: Nuclear fission and nuclear to thermal energy conversion

  1. Nov 20, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Suppose the main water pipe breaks in a nuclear power plant, shutting off the water flow. If the control rods fall immediately into place, stopping the chain reaction, is there still a problem?

    Yes, because radioactivity continues to create lots of thermal energy. (A)
    Yes, because the control rods stop only the fissioning of uranium and not the fissioning of plutonium. (B)
    Yes, because the uranium can still fission even though it is not chain-reacting. (C)
    No, because no heat can be created once the fission reaction is shut off. (D)
    No, because the small amount of heat that continues being created is not enough to cause any danger. (E)

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I'm thinking (D) -No, because no heat can be created once the fission reaction is shut off.

    The fission of Uranium is what releases nuclear energy to heat water which then under less pressure turns into steam to turn a turbine no? but if the fission if uranium through it's chain reactions is stopped then there is no nuclear energy being released to heat the water averting a meltdown...correct?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2014 #2


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  4. Nov 20, 2014 #3
    Ah interesting...thank you! so...although fission stops, still a lot of heat is produced by radioactivity so there is still definitely a problem. I choose (A).
  5. Nov 20, 2014 #4
    you wouldn't happen to be in phy100 at u of t would you?
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