The Chernobyl power plant was built to satisfy a constant need for energy. The power plant was created to supply nearby cities—namely Pripyat and Chernobyl—with energy. Nuclear energy was a new alternative energy source that lightened the dependency on coal power plants.
Nuclear reactors have many components. The reactor itself uses uranium-235 as fuel. Raw uranium ore contains only about 0.7% uranium-235 and must be enriched until it consists of about 5% uranium-235. The majority of uranium ore is uranium-238 which has a much longer half-life than uranium-235. The enriched uranium is then formed into pellets and placed into zirconium rods which are then assembled into bundles. These are called fuel rods and they are barraged with neutrons and then the uranium-235 turns into uranium-236—an extremely unstable atom—and shortly thereafter it splits into isotopes of krypton and barium. When the uranium splits it expels three neutrons which collide with other uranium atoms and in this fashion a chain reaction occurs once the reaction reaches critical mass. Critical mass is the point at which a chain reaction can be sustained without external interference. To control the nuclear reaction, co...
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Mousseau, T. A., & Møller, A. P. (2011). Landscape portrait: A look at the impacts of radioactive contaminants on Chernobyl’s wildlife. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 67(2), 38-46.
Mycio, M., (2013, March). How many people have really been killed by Chernobyl?. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/explainer/2013/04/ chernobyl_death_toll_how_many_cancer_cases_are_caused_by_low_level_radiation.html
World Nuclear Association. (2013, June). Chernobyl accident 1986. Retrieved 20 January 2014 from http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Safety-of-Plants/Chernobyl-Accident/
World Nuclear Association. (n.d.) How a nuclear reactor makes electricity? Retrieved 20 Jan. 2014 from http://www.world-nuclear.org/Nuclear-Basics/How-does-a-nuclear-reactor-make-electricity-/
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