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Reactor operator physics part 1

Objectives 1.Describe a fission of u-235 atom 2. Describe why thermal neutrons are required for fission 3. Describe a thermal neutron 4. Describe how a neutron becomes thermal in detail including any formulas. 5.Describe a chain reaction what it means and ways to control it.

Objectives cont.
6.Describe the difference between prompt criticality and criticality with delayed neutrons. 7. Describe neutron leakage and how this is important for reactor design and control. 8. Describe rod shadow, the difference between black and grey rods and neutron peaking at rod tips. 9. Describe reactivity in detail with any applicable equations, describe why this is important for reactor control. 10.Describe reactor power/neutron population in detail with any equation that apply.

objectives cont.
11.describ how reactor power is calculated including equations and explanations of how Thot. and T-Cold play into this. 12. Describe T-Ave And the different control methods around it. 13. As a reactor operator if you see reactor power going up with no change in other plant parameters what action should you take? 14. Describe radiation interaction with matter including any applicable equations

objectives cont.
15. Describe the quantum mechanics zoo of particles and how they might relate to reactor operations. including any formulas and math supporting your position 16. calculate the crossection for absorption of thermal neutrons of U-235 at different temperatures. 17.calculate an ECP (estimated critical position) for a reactor startup. This is not a wimpy course and if you don t already know all general and atomic physics very well as well as calculas, forget about it. save your time.

General information

Uranium-235 is an isotope of uranium making up about 0.72% of natural uranium. Unlike the predominant isotope uranium238 it is fissile i.e., it can sustain fission chain reaction. It is the only fissile isotope that is a primordial nuclide or found in significant quantity in nature. Uranium-235 ha half-life of 700 million years. It was discovered in 1935 by Arthur Jeffrey Dempster Its nuclear cross section for slow thermal neutrons is about 1000 barns. For fast neutrons it is on the order of 1 barn. Most but not all neutron absorptions result in fission; a minority result in neutron capture forming uranium-236. The fission of one atom of U-235 generates 202.5 MeV = 3.244 1011 J, i.e. 19.54 TJ/mol= 83.14 TJ/kg. Heavy water reactors, and some graphite moderated reactorscan use enriched uranium, but light water reactors must use low enriched uranium because of light water's neutron absorption. Uranium enrichment removes some of the uranium-238 and increases the proportion of uranium-235. In nuclear weapon design, highly enriched uranium containing 40% or greater U-235 is sometimes used in the secondary stage in place of natural or depleted uranium. Primary stages today most commonly use plutonium but when uranium is used, it is even more highly enriched in U-235. If at least one neutron from U-235 fission strikes another nucleus and causes it to fission, then the chain reaction will continue. If the reaction will sustain itself, it is said to be critical, and the mass of U-235 required to produce the critical condition is said to be a critical mass. A critical chain reaction can be achieved at low concentrations of U-235 if the neutrons from fission are moderated to lower their speed, since the probability for fission with slow neutrons is greater. A fission chain reaction produces intermediate mass fragments which are highly radioactive and produce further energy by their radioactive decay. Some of them produce neutrons, called delayed neutrons which contribute to the fission chain reaction. In nuclear reactors, the reaction is slowed down by the addition of control rods which are made of elements such as boron, cadmium, and hafnium which can absorb a large number of neutrons. In nuclear bombs, the reaction is uncontrolled and the large amount of energy released creates a nuclear explosion.

The Little Boy gun type atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 was fueled by highly enriched uranium with a large tamper. The nominal spherical critical mass for an unhampered 235U nuclear weapon is 56 kg,[a sphere 17.32 cm (6.8") in diameter. The required material must be 85 percent or more of 235U and is known as weapons grade uranium, though for a crude, inefficient weapon 20 percent is sufficient (called weapon(s)-usable). Even lower enrichment can be used, but then the required critical mass rapidly increases. Use of a large tamper, implosion geometries, trigger tubes, polonium triggers, Tritium enhancement, and neutron reflectors can enable a more compact, economical weapon using one-fourth or less of the nominal critical mass, though this would likely only be possible in a country that already had extensive experience in engineering nuclear weapons. Most modern nuclear weapon designs use plutonium as the fissile component of the primary stage[4][5] however HEU is often used in the secondary stage.