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Nuclear Fission Essay

1106 words - 4 pages

Nuclear fission, a fairly recent discovery, is a process in which an atom is split by the collision of two subatomic particles. There are many components needed to successfully obtain nuclear power by nuclear fission, this is a very complicated process, but in this essay I will break down the procedure and explain the steps needed to gather energy from nuclear fission. Nuclear fission not only generates energy but also heated disputes about the safety and efficiency of the method.The idea of nuclear fission has been around since 1934 when Ida Noddack suggested it; however the first ever successful nuclear fission was preformed four years later in 1938 by German scientists Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassman. Meitner was forced by the Anschluss to flee Germany because her citizenship had been revoked and she ended up in Sweden. While she was there Hahn and Fritz wrote to her about an experiment they had recently conducted back in Germany. The experiment consisted of bombarding uranium with neutrons and the end result was barium instead of the predicted radium. Meitner labeled this experiment an example of nuclear fission. People at the time thought this was beyond belief and an amazing feat, which it is, but "Everyone from comic book writers to theoretical physicists have characterized the splitting of the atom as the ultimate act of man playing God" (howstuffworks.com) When the uranium was bombarded with neutrons the neutrons collided with the atoms in the uranium causing the element to break into two fission products and release two or three neutrons while doing so.Induced nuclear fission is the artificial form of the natural occurring spontaneous fission that takes a substantially shorter time for the fission to occur. Induced nuclear fission is preformed by nuclear power plants. After they induce fission and the fission products are released there is an amount of heat energy given off. The famous equation from Albert Einstein, E=Mc², states that the energy of the fission is equal to the mass of the element multiplied by the speed of light squared. So the difference of the mass translates into energy where a small mass difference releases a great amount of power. In nuclear reactors after the atom splits it gives off a large amount of heat which in turn heats the water in the steam generator which, as you may have guessed, generates steam. The steam then leaves the generator and enters a cooling chamber while driving a turbine which generates the wanted electricity. This process requires a vigil that the workers must diligently keep at all times or else something may go wrong. Something that also helps with controlling the reactor are the control rods which are made of a material that absorb neutrons. The rods are lowed into the reactor or raised from it if they want to decrease or increase the amount of neutrons colliding with the uranium respectively. Another safety aspect that the managers of the power plant must keep is the...

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