Questions tagged [nuclear-engineering]

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3answers
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How is nuclear fuel dealt with?

Not sure if anyone would know this, but was discussing it with friends, and it seems like quite the puzzle. In short, how is nuclear fuel in reactors handled? Logically, the nuclear fuel must be ...
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0answers
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What are the key technical challenges to development of traveling wave reactors?

I recently learned about traveling wave reactors (TWRs) on the Netflix Bill Gates special, as an example of a cutting-edge technology Gates is funding which has the potential solve several ...
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1answer
50 views

How do nuclear power plants prevent fuel rods from depleting nonuniformaly?

Power output of nuclear reactors is controlled by control rods that sit in between the fuel rods: These are pulled out to increase fission rates - and lowered to decrease them. The control rods are ...
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Is my understanding of the Chernobyl explosions correct?

I have been reading technical reports and whatnot about Chernobyl for some time, and I'm feeling that they-or their wording-is not quite letting me understand it. For lack of a better way to present ...
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1answer
55 views

How does a nuclear powered rocket engine work?

Nuclear power always require some way of converting the energy from nuclear to electrical or mechanical to be useful. For example, in a nuclear power generation facility, this is done through heat/...
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1answer
231 views

Is the core of an RBMK reactor submersed in coolant?

I have looked at many diagrams of the Chernobyl reactor and am wondering where the coolant comes from that enters the control rod channels when the control rods are raised. All the diagrams show ...
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27 views

How to code this iterative scheme for solving 2-group diffusion equation?

I am trying to write a python code to solve the neutron diffusion equation to model neutron flux distribution in a one-dimensional two-group setting. The governing equations of the system are: $$-...
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0answers
34 views

Which Gen IV reactor types use nuclear waste as fuel?

I have read the Wikipedia article on Generation IV nuclear reactors, but from that article it is not clear to me which of the main reactor types that use nuclear waste to fuel the process. As far as I ...
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2answers
74 views

Why aren't nuclear reactors designed to handle the loss of the heat sink?

I always wonder why nuclear power plants aren't designed to handle a loss of the heat sink. At the point at which hydrogen is being made from the water, can't you just remove the water and catch the ...
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2answers
50 views

How is the neutron capture cross-section increased in thermal breeder reactors?

The related Wikipedia article says: A breeder reactor is a nuclear reactor that generates more fissile material than it consumes. Breeder reactors achieve this because their neutron economy is ...
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2answers
88 views

Critical mass in a molten salt reactor

In a conventional nuclear reactor the amount of neutrons 'flying around' is maintained with control rods and water is usually used as a moderator. From a certain point of view the control rods keep ...
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3answers
5k views

How did the RBMK control rod design cause an increase in reactivity when moved downwards?

I have been trying to understand a particular aspect of the Chernobyl accident - the role of the graphite displacers on the end of the control rods. The basic story is that the graphite displacers ...
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1answer
302 views

Was the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor a 'true' nuclear explosion?

Was the second - the big - explosion of the reactor core in the Chernobyl catastrophe a true nuclear explosion? There have been those who have said that it was ... but sayings to this effect do not ...
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1answer
95 views

Can fusion be used to synthesize precious metals? [closed]

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthesis_of_precious_metals, precious metals can be synthsized using fission. I think that if we found a way to do it with fusion, it would be more ...
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24 views

Dose rate through shielding from Co-60 to verify Monte Carlo result?

I need to calculate the dose rate leaking from sealed Co-60 sources. Let's say the activity of a source is 7 TBq. The source is tube shaped, 2 mm radius and 10 mm in height. There is 5 cm of tungsten ...
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2answers
63 views

Would a large dome structure prevent widespread effects of nuclear plant explosions?

In both the Fukushima and Chernobyl incidents, widespread contamination would have been prevented had both facilities been enclosed within a larger structure. While existing plant designs call for ...
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1answer
72 views

Why didn't the Fukushima turbine supply electricity to the residual heat removal system? [closed]

Instead the pump relied on the diesel generators, why didn't it just use the residual heat to generate electricity? P.s. The question is very specific to the residual heat generated after inserting ...
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2answers
51 views

Nuclear wastegate thermal dissipation systems?

How do shoreline nuclear facilities lower the temperature of wastewater generated by their cooling systems before it enters the ocean?
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2answers
148 views

Do ships powered by nuclear reactors use water for shielding?

On a different Stack, I encountered an answer that was making a comparison to nuclear powered naval ships. It was stated that the physical shielding being used was various kinds of metals. This seems.....
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2answers
106 views

When backup cooling fails in reactors without passive safety, what is the risk of radioactive contamination?

Most/all nuclear fission reactors require cooling. Due to radioactive decay heat, this is true even when the reactor is switched off. Hence, there are requirements for nuclear plants to have power ...
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1answer
1k views

How does a nuclear reactor initiate nuclear fission? [closed]

How do we start a nuclear chain reaction? For example, if we wanted to do it this weekend, what would we need, and what are the basic steps? I'm not looking for a text book response or highly detailed ...
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Summary of major outage management works needed in the 4th decade of a nuclear reactor?

I've noticed that quite a few commercial nuclear reactors have an extended outage (they close down for several months) some time late in their third decade, and the maintenance works during the ...
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2answers
369 views

How does thermonuclear warhead yield scale with size?

The Tsar Bomba packed a yield of 50 megatons into a package 2.1m in diameter by 8m long. Assuming that the lead tamper modification was not used (which boosts the yield of the Tsar Bomba design to ...