Portal:Nuclear technology

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The nuclear technology portal

This symbol of radioactivity is internationally recognized.

Nuclear technology is technology that involves the reactions of atomic nuclei. It has found applications from smoke detectors to nuclear reactors, and from gun sights to nuclear weapons. There is a great deal of public concern about its possible implications, and every application of nuclear technology is reviewed with care.

Nuclear power is the controlled use of nuclear reactions (currently limited to nuclear fission and radioactive decay) to do useful work including propulsion, heat, and the generation of electricity. Nuclear energy is produced when a fissile material, such as uranium-235, is concentrated such that the natural rate of radioactive decay is accelerated in a controlled chain reaction and creates heat – which is used to boil water, produce steam, and drive a steam turbine. This turbine can be used for mechanical work and also to generate electricity.

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The Sun is a natural fusion reactor.
The Sun is a natural fusion reactor.

Fusion power is useful energy generated by nuclear fusion reactions. In this kind of reaction two light atomic nuclei fuse together to form a heavier nucleus and release energy. The largest current experiment, JET, has resulted in fusion power production somewhat larger than the power put into the plasma, maintained for a few seconds. In June 2005, the construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), designed to produce several times more fusion power than the power into the plasma over many minutes, was announced. The production of net electrical power from fusion is planned for the next generation experiment after ITER . (Continued...)

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Schematic of a tokamak

A tokamak is a machine producing a toroidal (doughnut-shaped) magnetic field for confining a plasma. It is one of several types of magnetic confinement devices and the leading candidate for producing fusion energy. The term tokamak is a transliteration of the Russian word Токамак which itself comes from the Russian words: "тороидальная камера в магнитных катушках" (toroidal chamber in magnetic coils, tocamac). It was invented in the 1950s by Igor Yevgenyevich Tamm and Andrei Sakharov. (Continued...)

Did you know?

...that the world's first nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1, was built under the abandoned west stands of the Alonzo Stagg Field stadium on the University of Chicago campus?

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Marie Curie was one of the most significant researchers of ionizing radiation and its effects.

Marie Curie (Polish: Maria Skłodowska-Curie, November 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934) was a Polish chemist, pioneer in the early field of radiology and a two-time Nobel laureate. She also became the first woman appointed to teach at the Sorbonne. She was born in Warsaw, Poland and spent her early years there, but in 1891 at age 24 moved to France to study science in Paris. She obtained all her higher degrees and conducted her scientific career there and became a naturalized French citizen. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw.

Skłodowska and her husband, Pierre Curie, studied radioactive materials, particularly the uranium pitchblende ore, which had the curious property of being more radioactive than the uranium extracted from it. By 1898 they deduced a logical explanation: that the pitchblende contained traces of some unknown radioactive component which was far more radioactive than uranium; thus on December 26th Marie Curie announced the existence of this new substance.... (Continued...)

Nuclear technology news

  • 17 August 2016: The world's most powerful fast reactor BN-800 reaches its full power production level.


- Albert Einstein after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, seeing what his letter regarding the development of nuclear weapons had caused.

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