Nuclear fission and nuclear to thermal energy conversion

In summary, the conversation discusses whether there would still be a problem in a nuclear power plant if the control rods fall into place and stop the chain reaction, in the event of a main water pipe break. Option (D) suggests that there would be no problem because no heat can be created once the fission reaction is shut off. However, through real-life examples like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, it is clear that even if fission is stopped, there is still a significant amount of heat produced by radioactivity, making option (A) the correct answer.
  • #1
kirsten_2009
137
2

Homework Statement


[/B]
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)

Homework Equations

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?
 
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  • #2
  • #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).
 
  • #4
you wouldn't happen to be in phy100 at u of t would you?
 
  • #5


Yes, you are correct. Once the chain reaction is shut off, no further nuclear energy is being released and therefore no thermal energy is being produced. While there may be some residual heat from the decay of radioactive elements, it is not enough to cause any significant danger. So, the correct answer is (D) - No, because no heat can be created once the fission reaction is shut off.
 

Related to Nuclear fission and nuclear to thermal energy conversion

What is nuclear fission?

Nuclear fission is a process in which the nucleus of an atom is split into smaller parts, releasing a large amount of energy in the form of heat and radiation.

How is nuclear fission used to generate thermal energy?

Nuclear fission is used in nuclear power plants to generate thermal energy. The heat produced by the fission process is used to heat water and produce steam, which then drives turbines to generate electricity.

What materials are used in nuclear fission reactions?

Uranium is the most commonly used material in nuclear fission reactions. Other materials such as plutonium and thorium can also be used.

What are the risks associated with nuclear fission?

One of the main risks associated with nuclear fission is the release of radioactive materials, which can be harmful to human health and the environment. There is also a risk of nuclear accidents, although modern nuclear power plants have safety measures in place to prevent this.

Can nuclear fission be used for other purposes besides energy generation?

Yes, besides energy generation, nuclear fission can also be used for medical purposes, such as in cancer treatments, and for scientific research and development of new technologies.

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