Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsChemistry · 1 decade ago

what are nuclear reactors? what are they used for? what are they made up of?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    A nuclear reactor is a device in which nuclear chain reactions are initiated, controlled, and sustained at a steady rate (as opposed to a nuclear bomb, in which the chain reaction occurs in a fraction of a second and is completely uncontrolled).

    Nuclear reactors are used for many purposes. The most significant current use is for the generation of electrical power (nuclear power). Research reactors are used for radioisotope production and for beamline experiments with free neutrons. Historically, the first use of nuclear reactors was the production of weapons grade plutonium for nuclear weapons. Another military use is submarine / ship propulsion (Though this involves a much smaller nuclear reactor than the one used in a nuclear power plant).

    Currently all commercial nuclear reactors are based on nuclear fission, and are considered by some to be a safe and pollution-free method of generating electricity.

  • 1 decade ago

    Nuclear reactors are the key units in nuclear power stations. A nuclear reactor is a device for producing nuclear energy in a controlled manner where fission takes place. the nuclei of uranium is used as the main fuel to induce the split that releases large amount of heat energy. Fission in physics, is he process of splitting of a heavy atomic nuclei in to two or more fragments. Broadly there are three types of reactors - thermal, fast-breeder and fusion.

    The advantage of nuclear energy are that it produces a large amount of useful energy from a very small amount of fuel and does not produce gases contributing to the "Green House Effect".

    In all nuclear reactors, there is a coolant system in which ordinary water or gas like carbon dioxide is used. The heat produced in the reactors turns the water or gas into steam that drive generators to produce electricity.

  • 1 decade ago

    Nuclear reactors are equipment used to generate power. Power companies have them to generate power for communities and the Navy uses them to power submarines and some aircraft carriers.

    They are made up of several parts:

    - Subcritical Uranium (Uranium that won't explode and become a bomb)

    - Control Rods (Used to Slow Down or Stop Fission Reactions)

    - Lead/Granite Covering (For Protect ion From Radiation)

    - Pipes (Used to Heat Liquids to Turn Water into Steam and to Cool Parts of a Reactor)

    What happens is this:

    The uranium undergoes fission. Fission is when a stray particle hits an atom's nucleus (protons and neutrons) and it splits; when this happens, it makes new atoms and a couple of more stray neutrons. Those stray neutrons hit other atoms and the same thing happens to them. This is called a chain reaction. To stop the chain reaction from going on uncontrolled and possibly exploding, control rod are inserted. These control rods absorbs some or all of the stray neutrons, which can either slow down the reaction or stop it altogether depending on whatever you want to do. While all of this is happening, the reactions generate a lot of heat. Pipes going through the reactor takes the heat and sends it to a tank of water, which turns it into steam.

    The steam made from the reactor's heat turns a turbine and either turns a generator (to make electricity) or turns screws on a ship or submarine (to move).

  • 1 decade ago

    It goes something like this.

    Nuclear reactors convert nuclear energy into usable energy.

    They are used to generate electricity.

    Nuclear reactors have a core where energy is realized from plutonium, this energy is used to heat water, the vapor is used to run the turbine which in turn generates electricity.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    they convert matter into usable energy, fission being the primary source of energy, they use uranium or plutonium as there source of fuel

  • WC
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    They are power generating machines, which uses radioactive materials.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    to make your electricity. top secret andcannot tell you about what they are made up of.e

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