The Nuclear Industry

  • Tom Congedo
  • Edward Lahoda
  • Regis Matzie
  • Keith Task
Chapter

Abstract

The objective of the nuclear industry is to produce energy in the forms of heat from either fission reactions or radioactive decay and radiation from radioactive decay or by accelerator methods. For fission heat applications, the nuclear fuel has a very high specific energy content that currently has two principal uses, for military explosives and for electricity generation. As higher temperature reactors become more widely available, the high temperature heat (>900°C) will also be useful for making chemicals such as hydrogen. For radiation applications, the emissions from radioactive decay of unstable nuclides are employed in research, medicine, and industry for diagnostic purposes and for chemical reaction initiation. Radioactive decay heat is also employed to generate electricity from thermoelectric generators for low-power applications in space or remote terrestrial locations. Radiation produced from accelerator-based sources is used for geologic investigation (e.g., identifying oil deposits), materials modification, and contrast imaging of dense media (e.g., security inspections in commercial shipping). Fuel from the first atomic pile is shown in Fig. 21.1.

Keywords

Graphite Income Radium Vanadium Explosive 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Congedo
    • 1
  • Edward Lahoda
    • 1
  • Regis Matzie
    • 1
  • Keith Task
    • 1
  1. 1.Westinghouse Electric LLCHartfordUSA

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