Nuclear Power A Short History

1236 words - 5 pages

Nuclear Power - A Short History

Nuclear fission is the splitting of the nuclei of (normally) very heavy or unstable elements (normally heavier than iron), resulting in a release of large amounts of energy as well as the unstable, radioactive isotopes of lighter elements, as well as any logical number of neutrons. For uranium 235, the most abundant usable fuel present in nature, the number of neutrons released is about 2.4 per atom, and the energy released is about 215 MeV per atom (Example, nd), or about
215 MeV * 6.02*10^23 235U * 1000 g * joule
235U 1 * g * Kg * MeV * 1.602*10-13
= 8.05*10^15 joule or 8.05 petajoule per kilogram of uranium 235
However, uranium is not found in natural concentrations of more than 0.7% of any given amount of uranium; in order to efficiently obtain energy from uranium, one must "enrich" the uranium, or concentrate the usable isotopes (Uranium, nd).
Leo Szilard, a Hungarian scientist who had recently escaped Berlin for London, first entertained the idea of a chain-reaction of radioactive isotopes in 1933 (Szilárd, 2006); he patented his idea in 1936 in the U.K., and shared a patent with Enrico Fermi in the United States. Later, Otto Hahn and Fritz Stressmann, along with Lise Mietner and her nephew Otto Frisch, discovered fission when Hahn and Stressmann bombarded uranium with neutrons, resulting in the emission of a few smaller atoms in addition to neutrons and energy; Mietner and Frisch interpreted the resulting energy and atoms as being the results of fission of the uranium atoms' nuclei ("History," Georgia State University, nd); this fission resulted in huge amounts of energy per reaction (on the order of 200 mega electron-volts per atom of uranium 235). In 1942 and after deciding that uranium would be the best candidate for sustained fission (they had heard
Nuclear Energy 3
about Hahn and Fritz's experiment in 1939), Szilard and Fermi decided to construct a "neutronic reactor." Before proceeding, Szilard obtained Albert Einstein's endorsement in writing a letter to Franklin Delano Roosevelt explaining the potential for nuclear fission in bombs Leó Szilárd, 2006); he then moved to Chicago to continue work with Fermi and to construct the reactor Chicago Pile 1, the world's first nuclear reactor (Chicago, 2006). See also (Nuclear Fission, 2006).
Thereafter, attention shifted towards the development of nuclear weapons (Szilárd, 2006). Much was learned about nuclear fuel based on experiments conducted during the war, including the differences in half-life between 240Pu and 239Pu— the former being much shorter, thus complicating explosive reactions.
After the war, military research continued, but some research was devoted to civilian-reactor development, eventually culminating in the EBR-1 (experimental breeder reactor 1) in Idaho Falls: in December of 1951, four light bulbs were lit by the electricity generated by the reactor (Stefan, 2001; About, 2006). However, the first American nuclear power plants...

Find Another Essay On Nuclear Power - A Short History

A World with Thorium: Limitless Nuclear Power

1361 words - 6 pages Imagine a silvery-white metal, filled with so much energy that it is named after the Greek god of thunder, and has the power to fuel the world. Dated forms of energy like fossil fuels are damaging our planet on a monumental scale; however the nuclear option is free of greenhouse waste products and available in large supply. What makes Thorium even more amazing is how efficient and clean it is; when producing the same amount of energy Nuclear

Nuclear Fusion a Feasible Source of Power

1895 words - 8 pages Is Nuclear Fusion a Feasible Source of Power? Abstract: Nuclear fusion may be an effective solution to the energy problem in today?s world. Fusion is environmentally friendly and has the potential to generate massive amounts of power. It is evident that the Sun?s power is fueled by nuclear fusion. Recent advancements such as ITER and NIF may bring us closer to being able to use fusion. We find that nuclear fusion is a long-term

Nuclear Power: A radioactive Waste of Time Essay about disadvantages of nuclear power.

1351 words - 5 pages Nuclear Power: A Radioactive Waste of TimeFor many years now, technology has strived to discover alternative energy sources that are cheap, efficient and not harmful to the environment. Nuclear power is one of the alternative energy sources that technology has discovered. There are many views on whether or not it meets the aforementioned criteria, but the major concern when it comes to nuclear power is the safety issue. Is nuclear power safe

A Short History of Ethics

1276 words - 5 pages In chapters three and four of A Short History of Ethics, Alastair MacIntyre makes a clear distinction between two philosophical doctrines at loggerheads: the Sophists and Socrates. The Sophistic amalgam of personal success, lust and power is constantly interrogated by an interlocutor in an endless plight to reveal Sophistic ignorance, fruitless desires and the right to universal justice. MacIntyre identifies the codes of both parties, and

Nuclear Power: A Vital Piece in the World Energy Puzzle

2183 words - 9 pages in cost (Lovins 52). The flaw of this plan was the utilization of a single programming model, the Main and Transform 's "in-depth analysis" of possible phase out paths (Lovins 54). Lovin's plan also assumes that "no future uprates will be approved or further licenses renewed," (Lovins 42). In short, the author determined the Unites States government would not approve of any new nuclear power programs that are not already accounted for. This

Nuclear Power is a Safe and Reliable Alternative

2072 words - 8 pages . Despite the advances in efficiency, safety, and technology, public opinion has changed little since the years of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. It is this misguided sense of impending doom from nuclear power that has deterred much of the population from accepting it as a viable alternative to fossil fuels. This doubt and fear of nuclear power needs to come to an end, and serious consideration needs to be given. Nuclear power is a safe

"Bosnia: A Short History" by Noel Malcolm.

980 words - 4 pages Book Review: 'Bosnia: A Short History'At a glance Noel Malcolm's Bosnia: A Short History looks to provide a brief account of Bosnia in build up to the contemporary conflict between the Serbs and the Croats in the former Yugoslavia. Clearly, Malcolm's intent is to accommodate for those who are unfamiliar with this area of history or those that have witnessed the said conflict through the media over the past decade. As well as to "dispel some of

A Short History of Nearly Everything

1027 words - 5 pages In A Short History of Nearly Everything Bill Bryson undertakes the task of explaining every noteworthy event from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization or as he puts it “…how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since.” Bryson explains his reasoning for writing the books was because he was discontented with the textbook

A Short History Of The Blues

2265 words - 9 pages , would later become a staple of the most beautiful sounds of the pioneers of blues music. But not only is Handy amazed with the triumphant sound of the guitar, he is also mesmerized by the heart pounding words and eerie sound of the vocals coming from this dreadful looking specimen. This is the earliest known observation of the blues in the history of the world but not quite the birth of it. Santelli clarifies, “What Handy did on that railroad

Nuclear Power: How Does it Work? Does it Have a Future?

2300 words - 9 pages containment structure. Factors Affecting the Acceptance of Nuclear Power History. An energy source derived originally from a weapons development programme, nuclear power started as, and remains, a political matter. In 1939, Austrian physicist Lise Meitner was the first to quantify the amount of energy released in nuclear fission using Einstein’s energy and mass equivalence formula. The study of nuclear fission was pioneered by Italian

Its about a nuclear power plant and the goods and bads about it.

778 words - 3 pages I was recently looking over two articles over the Ginna nuclear-power plant accident in different magazines. The first being Time, whose article in the week of February 8th, 1982 was titled "Springing a Radioactive Leak." In the same week authors, William D. Marbach, Susan Argrest, John Carey and Mary Lord, from Newsweek Magazine published a similar article titled "Again a Nuclear Mishap." When reading these articles I discovered just how

Similar Essays

Nuclear Power: Advatages And Disadvatages, Also A Short History Of Nuclear Technology.

738 words - 3 pages Nuclear reactors are a great achievement in the human race. Reactors where originally used for research into the world of nuclear energy. The first reactor was built and sustained by the Italian scientist Enrico Fermi, at the University of Chicago in 1942. It is also interesting to know that even though the scientist didn't realize the potential danger of a mass explosion of energy and the destructive capability to the human body, they where not

Nuclear Power Is The Short Term Solution

555 words - 2 pages Nuclear Power is the Short Term Solution The world's natural resources are being consumed at an alarming rate. As these resources diminish, people will be seeking alternative sources by which to generate electricity for heat and light. The only practical short-term solution for the energy/pollution crisis should be nuclear power because it is available, cleaner and safer. The needs for alternative energy are present today with China and

A History Of Nuclear Weapons Essay

1404 words - 6 pages ). With the extreme power of these weapons, both sides tried to create defenses to the potential attacks on their countries. The United States took the first step in 1983 with what is now called the Star Wars program. Star Wars was an idea that we could send a satellite into space that would shoot lasers into either the nuclear warheads or the fuel systems of Inter-continental ballistic missiles, diffusing them in space rather than causing us harm

How A Nuclear Power Plant Works

533 words - 2 pages German physicists (Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch)After all these findings it's in the Soviet Union in 1954 that the first nuclear power-plant was built to produce electricity.In the years after the construction of the first nuclear power plant, many improvements had occurred, especially in the treatment of waste, safety and energy conservation, which allowed to have plants of different generations.Nuclear Power: A