Question: What are the processes of nuclear fission to be controlled to release energy safely?
Answer: In a nuclear fission reaction each atomic reaction produces a lot of heat as well as more of the ‘fuel’ for the next reaction than it consumed (this is called a chain reaction). By removing the product selectively you can control the rate. The most common case is Uranium 235 which is bombarded with free neutrons (the ‘fuel’) which forms Uranium 236 which undergoes fission (splits in two) which releases two different particles, some energy, and two free neutrons. By allowing this reaction to happen near a material that will absorb neutrons and another to absorb the released energy (that we use) we control the rate of the reaction. The source of energy we harness is the tremendous release of heat from nuclear fission reactions. This heat is used to power steam turbines that convert the heat energy into mechanical energy and finally into power.
The key to the safe release of the heat energy of nuclear fission reactions is in controlling the rate of the reaction by removing extra energy and extra neutrons so you can safely manage the energy production it has to offer while not letting it get out of control.
Other questions related to nuclear energy:
- Is fission and fusion energy renewable?
- What runs off nuclear energy?
- What is nuclear energy and how does it work?
- What are the sources of energy in nuclear fission and fusion?
- What are the processes of nuclear fission to be controlled to release energy safely?
- What are examples of nuclear energy?