Image 5A schematic nuclear fission chain reaction. 1. A uranium-235 atom absorbs a neutron and fissions into two new atoms (fission fragments), releasing three new neutrons and some binding energy. 2. One of those neutrons is absorbed by an atom of uranium-238 and does not continue the reaction. Another neutron is simply lost and does not collide with anything, also not continuing the reaction. However, the one neutron does collide with an atom of uranium-235, which then fissions and releases two neutrons and some binding energy. 3. Both of those neutrons collide with uranium-235 atoms, each of which fissions and releases between one and three neutrons, which can then continue the reaction. (from Nuclear fission)
Image 6Over 2,000 nuclear tests have been conducted in over a dozen different sites around the world. Red Russia/Soviet Union, blue France, light blue United States, violet Britain, yellow China, orange India, brown Pakistan, green North Korea and light green (territories exposed to nuclear bombs). The Black dot indicates the location of the Vela Incident. (from Nuclear weapon)
Image 16Proportions of the isotopes uranium-238 (blue) and uranium-235 (red) found in natural uranium and in enriched uranium for different applications. Light water reactors use 3–5% enriched uranium, while CANDU reactors work with natural uranium. (from Nuclear power)
Image 18The USSR and United States nuclear weapon stockpiles throughout the Cold War until 2015, with a precipitous drop in total numbers following the end of the Cold War in 1991. (from Nuclear weapon)
Image 27Reactor decay heat as a fraction of full power after the reactor shutdown, using two different correlations. To remove the decay heat, reactors need cooling after the shutdown of the fission reactions. A loss of the ability to remove decay heat caused the Fukushima accident. (from Nuclear power)
Image 28Demonstration against nuclear testing in Lyon, France, in the 1980s. (from Nuclear weapon)
Image 29Ukrainian workers use equipment provided by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency to dismantle a Soviet-era missile silo. After the end of the Cold War, Ukraine and the other non-Russian, post-Soviet republics relinquished Soviet nuclear stockpiles to Russia. (from Nuclear weapon)
Image 39A visual representation of an induced nuclear fission event where a slow-moving neutron is absorbed by the nucleus of a uranium-235 atom, which fissions into two fast-moving lighter elements (fission products) and additional neutrons. Most of the energy released is in the form of the kinetic velocities of the fission products and the neutrons. (from Nuclear fission)
Image 45Experimental apparatus similar to that with which Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered nuclear fission in 1938. The apparatus would not have been on the same table or in the same room. (from Nuclear fission)
Image 52The "curve of binding energy": A graph of binding energy per nucleon of common isotopes. (from Nuclear fission)
Image 53Animation of a Coulomb explosion in the case of a cluster of positively charged nuclei, akin to a cluster of fission fragments. Hue level of coloris proportional to (larger) nuclei charge. Electrons (smaller) on this time-scale are seen only stroboscopically and the hue level is their kinetic energy (from Nuclear fission)
Image 60The stages of binary fission in a liquid drop model. Energy input deforms the nucleus into a fat "cigar" shape, then a "peanut" shape, followed by binary fission as the two lobes exceed the short-range nuclear force attraction distance, then are pushed apart and away by their electrical charge. In the liquid drop model, the two fission fragments are predicted to be the same size. The nuclear shell model allows for them to differ in size, as usually experimentally observed. (from Nuclear fission)
Image 62A comparison of prices over time for energy from nuclear fission and from other sources. Over the presented time, thousands of wind turbines and similar were built on assembly lines in mass production resulting in an economy of scale. While nuclear remains bespoke, many first of their kind facilities added in the timeframe indicated and none are in serial production. Our World in Data notes that this cost is the global average, while the 2 projects that drove nuclear pricing upwards were in the US. The organization recognises that the median cost of the most exported and produced nuclear energy facility in the 2010s the South Korean APR1400, remained "constant", including in export. LCOE is a measure of the average net present cost of electricity generation for a generating plant over its lifetime. As a metric, it remains controversial as the lifespan of units are not independent but manufacturer projections, not a demonstrated longevity. (from Nuclear power)
Image 63An example of an induced nuclear fission event. 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 is much slower than in a bomb. (from Nuclear reactor)
Image 64Induced fission reaction. A neutron is absorbed by a uranium-235 nucleus, turning it briefly into an excited uranium-236 nucleus, with the excitation energy provided by the kinetic energy of the neutron plus the forces that bind the neutron. The uranium-236, in turn, splits into fast-moving lighter elements (fission products) and releases several free neutrons, one or more "prompt gamma rays" (not shown) and a (proportionally) large amount of energy. (from Nuclear fission)
Image 66The nuclear fuel cycle begins when uranium is mined, enriched, and manufactured into nuclear fuel (1), which is delivered to a nuclear power plant. After use, the spent fuel is delivered to a reprocessing plant (2) or to a final repository (3). In nuclear reprocessing 95% of spent fuel can potentially be recycled to be returned to use in a power plant (4). (from Nuclear power)
After the Fall of France, some French scientists escaped to Britain with their stock of heavy water. They were temporarily installed in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, where they worked on reactor design. The MAUD Committee was uncertain whether this was relevant to the main task of Tube Alloys, that of building an atomic bomb, although there remained a possibility that a reactor could be used to breed plutonium, which might be used in one. It therefore recommended that they be relocated to the United States, and co-located with the Manhattan Project's reactor effort. Due to American concerns about security (many of the scientists were foreign nationals) and patent claims by the French scientists and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), it was decided to relocate them to Canada instead.
Although Canada was a major source of uranium ore and heavy water, these were controlled by the Americans. Anglo-American cooperation broke down, denying the Montreal Laboratory scientists access to the materials they needed to build a reactor. In 1943, the Quebec Agreement merged Tube Alloys with the American Manhattan Project. The Americans agreed to help build the reactor. Scientists who were not British subjects left, and John Cockcroft became the new director of the Montreal Laboratory in May 1944. The Chalk River Laboratories opened in 1944, and the Montreal Laboratory was closed in July 1946. Two reactors were built at Chalk River. The small ZEEP went critical on 5 September 1945, and the larger NRX on 21 July 1947. NRX was for a time the most powerful research reactor in the world. (Full article...)
Krakatau subcritical experiment being lowered into the floor of the tunnel of the U1a Complex at the Nevada Test Site. The cables extending from the hole will carry data from the experiment to recording instruments.
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After the Second World War broke out in Europe, he was interned in the Isle of Man, and later in Canada. After he returned to Britain in 1941, he became an assistant to Rudolf Peierls, working on "Tube Alloys"—the British atomic bomb project. He began passing information on the project to the Soviet Union through Ursula Kuczynski, codenamed "Sonya", a German communist and a major in Soviet military intelligence who had worked with Richard Sorge's spy ring in the Far East. In 1943, Fuchs and Peierls went to Columbia University, in New York City, to work on the Manhattan Project. In August 1944, Fuchs joined the Theoretical Physics Division at the Los Alamos Laboratory, working under Hans Bethe. His chief area of expertise was the problem of implosion, necessary for the development of the plutonium bomb. After the war, he returned to the UK and worked at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell as head of the Theoretical Physics Division.