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CHAPTER 24

Nuclear Energy
I - Radioactivity
A. Definitions
 Radioactivity
 emission of high-energy radiation
from the nucleus of an atom
 Nuclide
 nucleus of an isotope
 Transmutation
 process of changing one element into
another via nuclear decay
B. Types of Radiation
 Alpha ()
4 2+
 helium nucleus 2 He paper

 Beta-minus (-)
0 1- lead
 electron -1 e
 Gamma ()
 high-energy photon
0 concrete
C. Nuclear Decay
 Why nuclides decay…
 to obtain a stable
ratio of neutrons to
protons
39 Stable
19 K
40 Unstable
19 K (radioactive)
C. Nuclear Decay
TRANSMUTATION
 Alpha Emission
238
92 U Th  He
234
90
4
2

 Beta Emission
131
53 I 131
54 Xe  e
0
-1
D. Half-life
 Half-life (t½)
 time it takes for half of the nuclides in
a sample to decay
Nuclear Decay
20

Example Half-lives 18

16

Mass of Isotopes (g)


polonium-194 0.7 seconds 14

12

lead-212 10.6 hours 10

iodine-131 8.04 days 6

carbon-14 5,370 years


2

0
0 2 4 6 8 10

uranium-238 4.5 billion years # of Half-Lives


D. Half-life
 How much of a 20-g sample of sodium-24 would
remain after decaying for 30 hours? Sodium-24
has a half-life of 15 hours.
GIVEN: WORK:
total time = 30 hours number of half-lives = 2
t1/2 = 15 hours 20 g ÷ 2 = 10 g (1 half-life)
original mass = 20 g 10 g ÷ 2 = 5 g (2 half-lives)

5 g of 24Na would remain.


CHAPTER 24

Nuclear Energy
II - Nuclear Reactions
A. Fission

 splitting a nucleus into two


or more smaller nuclei
 some mass is converted
to large amounts of
energy

1
0 n 235
92 U 141
56 Ba  Kr  3 n
92
36
1
0
A. Fission
 chain reaction - self-feeding reaction
B. Fusion
 combining of two nuclei to form one
nucleus of larger mass
 produces even more
energy than fission
 occurs naturally in
stars
CHAPTER 24

Nuclear Energy
III - Applications
A. Nuclear Power
 Fission Reactors Cooling Tower
A. Nuclear Power
 Fission Reactors
A. Nuclear Power
 Fusion Reactors (not yet sustainable)
A. Nuclear Power
 Fusion Reactors (not yet sustainable)

National Spherical
Torus Experiment

Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor

Princeton University
A. Nuclear Power
F
F
I
U
S vs. S
S
I
I
O
O
N
N

 235U is limited  Hydrogen is abundant


 danger of meltdown  no danger of meltdown
 toxic waste  no toxic waste
 thermal pollution  not yet sustainable
B. Others
 Choose one of the following to
investigate:
 Irradiated Food (p.676)
 Radioactive Dating (p.683)
 Nuclear Medicine (p.692-693)
 Make a mini-poster to display what you
have learned.