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Nuclear reaction heat

  1. Oct 28, 2012 #1
    Hi, in nuclear reactors the water is heated while traveling through the core , now this heat comes from the nuclear reaction taking place in the core fuel assemblies, the part that I wnat to know is which of the elementary particles that come out of that reaction heat the water more and which less,
    like i suppose neutrons do the major part and what else?
    I guess there are some particles that leak out taking the some of the total energy with them and so on.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 28, 2012 #2

    mfb

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    The neutrons and fission fragments carry most of the energy. In addition, many short-living nuclei are produced. When they decay, they release additional energy as alpha radiation (-> kinetic energy of alpha particle is converted to heat), beta radiation (kinetic energy of electron is converted to heat, kinetic energy of neutrino is lost) and/or gamma radiation (energy of photon is converted to heat).
     
  4. Oct 28, 2012 #3
    Not much of the energy comes from emitted neutrons; Over 80%of the energy is carried by the fission nuclei:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fission#Output
     
  5. Oct 28, 2012 #4
    So basically what your saying is that most of the heat comes from the u235 daughters?
    So like there are nuclei with smaller atomic numbers as whole hitting the water atoms and causing heat and then besides tat there are some neutrons that fly alone and some high energy photons (gammas) that again fly alone just as elementary particles?
    And that altogether causes water to heat up? Ok
    But then what happens in nuclear fusion as most of the energy there atleast with the D-T reaction is carried by neutrons is that true? And they call them fast neutrons when they leave the fused nucleus and after they hit like the cooling water of the (proposed) reactor they slow down and become thermal neutrons because they left alot of their kinetic energy to the water while traveling through it right?
     
  6. Oct 28, 2012 #5

    mfb

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    Right.

    A significant part of their energy will heat the blanket, and that will heat the water, but the general concept is correct.
     
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