Nuclear Reactors Essay

In other reactors the coolant acts as a poison by absorbing neutrons in the same way that the control rods do.In these reactors power output can be increased by heating the coolant, which makes it a less dense poison.These delayed neutrons account for about 0.65% of the total neutrons produced in fission, with the remainder (termed "prompt neutrons") released immediately upon fission.

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A nuclear reactor coolant — usually water but sometimes a gas or a liquid metal (like liquid sodium) or molten salt — is circulated past the reactor core to absorb the heat that it generates.

The heat is carried away from the reactor and is then used to generate steam.

As of early 2019, the IAEA reports there are 454 nuclear power reactors and 226 nuclear research reactors in operation around the world. A neutron is absorbed by the nucleus of a uranium-235 atom, which in turn splits into fast-moving lighter elements (fission products) and free neutrons.

Though both reactors and nuclear weapons rely on nuclear chain reactions, the rate of reactions in a reactor occurs much more slowly than in a bomb.

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.

Some of these methods arise naturally from the physics of radioactive decay and are simply accounted for during the reactor's operation, while others are mechanisms engineered into the reactor design for a distinct purpose.

The fastest method for adjusting levels of fission-inducing neutrons in a reactor is via movement of the control rods.

This action results in fewer neutrons available to cause fission and reduces the reactor's power output.

Conversely, extracting the control rod will result in an increase in the rate of fission events and an increase in power.


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