Can we reach for a sustainable
and attainable energy Future?
Chapter 7 + handouts
Thursday September 27, 2012
The mission of the Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will
improve the economic and social well-being of people around
Assignment for Tuesday Oct. 2, 2012
Nuclear Power or Nuclear Energy
Worldwide Excitement about Nuclear Science
“As a zero-carbon energy
source, nuclear power must
be part of our energy mix as
we work toward energy
independence and meeting
the challenge of global
— Nobel physicist Steven
Chu, U.S. Secretary of
Energy - May 6, 2009
Related to Nuclear Weapons…. Atoms for Peace program
Lack of understanding/knowledge
"Atoms for Peace" was the title of a speech delivered by U.S.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the UN General Assembly in
New York City on December 8, 1953.
• "It is with the book of history, and not with isolated
pages, that the United States will ever wish to be
identified. My country wants to be constructive, not
destructive. It wants agreement, not wars, among nations.
It wants itself to live in freedom, and in the confidence
that the people of every other nation enjoy equally the
right of choosing their own way of life."
• "To the making of these fateful decisions, the United
States pledges before you--and therefore before the
world--its determination to help solve the fearful atomic
dilemma--to devote its entire heart and mind to find the
way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not
be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life."
Isotopes for the Nation’s Future
University of Notre Dame
Isotopes are vital to the science and technology
base of the US economy.
new resource development – petrochemical, nuclear, bio-fuels
Atoms for Peace program……1954
US Department of Energy …..Office of Nuclear Energy
Isotopes used as environmental tracers.
• As-73 is needed to understand As contamination
• Na-22, Sr-87, and other solute reactive isotopes
are needed to understand flowpaths for
geochemical and hydrologic modeling.
• Al-26 is needed to understand the impacts of acid
• Si-32 is needed for oceanographic tracing, which
contributes to a better understanding of climate
change and its effects.
Nuclear Physics Applications
Geology & Climate
Art & Archaeology
Blood flow with radiopharmaceuticals
Imaging software and analysis
SPEC & PEP
Tumor mapping & visualization by radioactive
Imaging system development
Heavy ion therapy
Fission/Fusion Reactors for the Future
The Tokomak approach ITER
The laser approach NIF
Magnet field confined plasma fusion
Laser ignition fusion
From nuclear power plants
Accelerator Driven Systems (ADS) for
operating sub-critical reactors
development (~10 15 n/s)
ADS for nuclear waste management
to nuclear pace makers
Beam optics &
Material Treatment and Analysis of Artifacts
Implantation and irradiation
from silicon chips to solar sails
Dating real and false mummies
Trafficking of nuclear materials &
material loss assessments
Border control & radiation exposure
Provenance of radioactive material
by isotope composition or material
Detector array development
Nuclear Energy Facts
Do not use Fossil Fuels
Energy from fission of Uranium
New International program ITER in France….180 country international project!!
No carbon emissions to the atmosphere
CO 2 , SO 2 , CO (what renewables??)
20% of US energy needs met by nuclear power plants…most of them old!
None built over 30 yrs….
Location of Projected New Nuclear Power Reactors
There are currently 104 licensed to operate nuclear power plants in the United States
(69 PWRs and 35 BWRs), which generate about 20% of our nation's electrical use.
Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs)
Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs)
Each fission releases more than 1 neutron
Uranium has two isotopes
235 (0.7%) and 238 (99.3%)
The amount of free energy contained in nuclear fuel is millions of times
the amount of free energy contained in a similar mass of chemical fuel
such as gasoline, making nuclear fission a very tempting source of energy;
however, the products of nuclear fission are radioactive and remain so for
significant amounts of time, giving rise to a nuclear waste problem.
Concerns over nuclear waste accumulation and over the destructive
potential of nuclear weapons may counterbalance the desirable qualities
of fission as an energy source, and give rise to ongoing political debate
over nuclear power.
Univ. of Chicago…Enrico Fermi
Manhattan Project….Oppenheimer led
Atoms for Peace- 1953
President Eisenhower to United Nations
1954 –Atomic Energy Act
Periodic Table of the Elements
The Nuclear Chart
Proton: 2 up, 1 down quark
Neutron: 2 down, one up quark
Gluons: quark antiquark
Atomic Number = number of protons
Atomic Mass = number of protons + number of neutrons
What is Atomic Weight?
Chart of Nuclides
Where is the Energy coming from??????
Splitting the Uranium Atom:
Uranium is the principle element used in nuclear reactors
and in certain types of atomic bombs. The specific isotope
used is 235 U. When a stray neutron strikes a 235 U nucleus,
it is at first absorbed into it. This creates 236 U. 236 U is
unstable and this causes the atom to fission.
• 235 U + 1 neutron
• 235 U + 1 neutron
2 neutrons + 92 Kr + 142 Ba + ENERGY
2 neutrons + 92 Sr + 140 Xe + ENERGY
Americium -241: Used in many smoke detectors for homes and business...
Cadmium -109: Used to analyze metal alloys for checking stock, sorting scrap.
Calcium - 47: Important aid to biomedical researchers studying the cell function and
bone formation of mammals.
Californium - 252: Used to inspect airline luggage for hidden explosives...to gauge the
moisture content of soil in the road construction and building industries...and to measure
the moisture of materials stored in silos.
Carbon - 14: Helps in research to ensure that potential new drugs are metabolized without
forming harmful by-products.
Cesium - 137: Used to treat cancers...
Chromium - 51: Used in research in red blood cell survival studies.
Cobalt - 57: Used in nuclear medicine to help physicians interpret diagnosis scans of
patients' organs, and to diagnose pernicious anemia.
Cobalt - 60 : Used to sterilize surgical instruments...spices/fruits
Copper - 67: cancer
very long- longer than age of earth….billions of yrs
C 5730 yrs
Half-lives are very often used to describe quantities undergoing
exponential decay—for example radioactive decay—where the half-life is
constant over the whole life of the decay.
/ 1 100
/ 2 50
/ 4 25
/ 8 12 .5
/ 16 6 .25
/ 32 3 .125
/ 64 1 .563
/ 128 0 .781
... ... ...
n 1/2 n 100(1/2 n )
A quantity is said to be subject to exponential decay
if it decreases at a rate proportional to its value. Symbolically,
this can be expressed as the following differential equation,
where N is the quantity and λ is a positive number called the
The solution to this equation is:
Here N(t) is the quantity at time t, and N 0
= N(0) is the initial
quantity, i.e. the quantity at time t = 0.
Half-life:time required for the decaying quantity to fall to one half of its initial
This time is called the half-life, and often denoted by the symbol t 1 / 2
The half-life can be written in terms of the decay constant, or the mean lifetime,
Example: 14 C…..0.693/5730 yrs =1.21 x10 -4 /yr
or l=ln2/t 1/2
Example: How old is an object whose 14C content is 10% of what it is in living
Environmental and safety aspects of nuclear energy
Not in My Back Yucca
What are our alternatives for storing
By Brendan I. Koerner
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2008, at 8:11 AM ET
Environmental Statement on Nuclear
Energy and Global Warming
Too expensive – power plants…
Too dangerous- terrorist groups
Too polluting- radioactive waste
Thorium: Is It the Better Nuclear Fuel?
What is special about thorium?
(1) Weapons-grade fissionable material (uranium 233 ) is harder to retrieve safely
and clandestinely from the thorium reactor than plutonium is from the
uranium breeder reactor.
(2) Thorium produces 10 to 10,000 times less long-lived radioactive waste than
uranium or plutonium reactors.
(3) Thorium comes out of the ground as a 100% pure, usable isotope, which does
not require enrichment, whereas natural uranium contains only 0.7%
fissionable U 235 .
(4) Because thorium does not sustain chain reaction, fission stops by default if
we stop priming it, and a runaway chain reaction accident is improbable.
Here is the thorium sequence in the Rubbia reactor: A neutron is captured by
90Th 232 , which makes it 90 Th 233 .
90Th 232 + 0n 1 -> 90Th 233 
Thorium-233 spontaneously emits a beta particle (an electron from the nucleus, see
p 173), leaving behind one additional proton, and one fewer neutron. ("...Nuclear
Energy" p134) This is called "beta decay."
90Th 233 -> 91Pa 233 + ß 
The element with 91 protons is Protactinium (Pa). The isotope 91 PA 233 also
undergoes beta decay,
91Pa 233 -> 92U 233 + ß 
The U 233 isotope that is produced in step  is fissionable, but has fewer neutrons
than its heavier cousin, Uranium-235, and its fission releases only 2 neutrons, not 3.
92U 233 + 0n 1 -> fission fragments + 2 0 n 1 
Fusion Energy (how the sun gets its energy)
In a fusion reaction, two light atomic nuclei fuse together to form
heavier ones, as is shown in the figure. The fusion process releases a
large amount of energy, which is the energy source of the sun and the
Proton + neutron=deuterium
Proton + 2 neutrons=tritium
D+ T= 4 He +n + 17.6 MeV
H+ 3 H= 4 He
Fusion Inside the Stars
• Fusion in the core of stars is reached when
the density and temperature are high
enough. There are different fusion cycles
that occur in different phases of the life
of a star. These different cycles make the
different elements we know. The first
fusion cycle is the fusion of hydrogen into
Helium. This is the stage that our Sun is in.
The long-term objective of
fusion research is to harness
the nuclear energy provided
by the fusion of light atoms to
help meet mankind´s future