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a nuclear glossary

Page history last edited by Andrew Alder 9 months, 4 weeks ago

These are just terms used on the pages in this website. See fool grade for some more details of some of them.

 

Acronyms

BWR - Boiling Water Reactor, a type of LWR and the second most common type of power reactor in the world today

D+D - Fusion of two deuterium nuclei

D+T - Fusion of deuterium with tritium, requiring less temperature and/or pressure than D+D but producing a very fast neutron

EBR-2 - Experimental Breeder Reactor 2, a prototype IFR constructed in the USA, now decomissioned

FBR - Fast Breeder Reactor, a proven type of power reactor that uses far less fuel than a PWR or BWR, currently uneconomic owing to the availability of cheap LWR fuel

IFR - The Integral Fast Reactor, a type of FBR that consumes much of its own waste and also addresses proliferation and accident issues, a prototype called EBR-2 was built and operated successfully 

ITER - The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, under construction

LWR - Light Water Reactor, a type of nuclear reactor

PWR - Pressurized Water Reactor, a type of LWR and the most common type of power reactor in the world today

RBMK - A power reactor type built only by the Soviet Union, and known before construction to suffer from positive void and power coefficients of reactivity

 

Other useful terms

Crossover period - the length of time we need to wait until the waste produced by a nuclear reactor is less radioactive than the material consumed in creating the waste would have been.

 

Power coefficient - Short for power coefficient of reactivity, a measure of reactor stability. If it is positive, then an increase in power will lead to a further increase in the rate of fission, resulting in a possible runaway scenario.

 

Transuranic - Any element with an atomic number greater than Uranium. Notable examples are Plutonium and Americium. Once believed to all be purely artificial, but analysis has now improved to the point that we can detect minute traces of natural Plutonium in the earth's crust. 

 

Void coefficient - Short for void coefficient of reactivity, a measure of reactor stability. If it is positive, then the boiling of water in the core will lead to an increase in the rate of fission, resulting in a possible runaway scenario.    

 

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