Nuclear energy - fission and fusion

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categorie: Engleza

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E [energy] equals m [mass] times c2 [c stands for the speed of light. c2 means c times c, or the speed of light raised to the second power -- or c-squared.]

Scientists used Einstein's famous equation as the key to unlock atomic energy and also create atomic bombs.
The ancient Greeks said the smallest part of nature is an atom. But they did not know 2,000 years ago about nat[...]
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E [energy] equals m [mass] times c2 [c stands for the speed of light. c2 means c times c, or the speed of light raised to the second power -- or c-squared.]

Scientists used Einstein's famous equation as the key to unlock atomic energy and also create atomic bombs.
The ancient Greeks said the smallest part of nature is an atom. But they did not know 2,000 years ago about nature's even smaller parts.
Atoms are made up of smaller particles -- a nucleus of protons and neutrons, surrounded by electrons which swirl around the nucleus much like the earth revolves around the sun.

Nuclear Fission
An atom's nucleus can be split apart. When this is done, a tremendous amount of energy is released. The energy is both heat and light energy. This energy, when let out slowly, can be harnessed to generate electricity. When it is let out all at once, it makes a tremendous explosion in an atomic bomb. The word fission means to split apart.

A nuclear power plant (like Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant shown on the right) uses uranium as a "fuel." Uranium is an element that is dug out of the ground many places around the world. It is processed into tiny pellets that are loaded into very long rods that are put into the power plant's reactor.
Inside the reactor of an atomic power plant, uranium atoms are split apart in a controlled chain reaction.

In a chain reaction, particles released by the splitting of the atom go off and strike other uranium atoms splitting those. Those particles given off split still other atoms in a chain reaction. In nuclear power plants, control rods are used to keep the splitting regulated so it doesn't go too fast.
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