lehpron
Posts: 6846
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2001 3:42 am

Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:01 am

Are these true, to the best of your knowledge (which I hope isn't contant):

  • a fission reaction involves particles breaking apart and releasing energy, does this type of reaction release the most damaging radiation to living creatures?

  • a fusion reaction involves particles coming together and then coming apart, releasing teachnically harmless radiation. I am refering to the release of neutrons as well as Helium gas. But don't neutrons decay into gamma rays and thus would make them just as dangerous as fission?

  • Is/would an antimatter reaction be nuclear? From what I am familiar with, antimatter reactions involve two particles of opposite charge coming together naturally but there is a charge cancelation and the energy release is the total sum of the particle masses as neutrons decaying into gamma radiation. Would this radiation be as dangerous as fisson or worse because there is more per particle interation?
Whenever I hear of nuclear power, the only two I hear are the ones above. Is it simply to early to speak of antimatter as nuclear? As much as some people see this as science fiction, antimatter particles have been detected in real science, but some do not exist naturally. Maybe most. I have heard that some antimatter particles have been made by ramming isotopes in a particle accelerator.
The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
 
gkirk
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RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:14 am

Quoting Lehpron (Thread starter):
a fission reaction involves particles breaking apart and releasing energy, does this type of reaction release the most damaging radiation to living creatures?

I'd imagine KROC farting would do cause more damage to living creatures than a fission reaction  stirthepot  duck 
When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
 
Logan22L
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RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:20 am

Quoting Lehpron (Thread starter):
a fission reaction involves particles breaking apart and releasing energy, does this type of reaction release the most damaging radiation to living creatures?

I'll tackle this one, anyway. Fission produces smaller particles from larger particles. For example, fission of uranium can produce other heavy metals, plus neutrons. The net mass of the fission products is less than the starting U particle; the remainder being released as energy if E = MC^2, and C is a constant and the mass remaining is less than before, some energy must have been released from the system.

I would define gamma rays as the most damaging radiation to living creatures, but I'm not a physicist. Alpha particles consist of 2 protons and 2 neutrons, beta particles are the same as electrons, and gamma rays are not particles, and have no mass. Hence the products of fission do not appear to be affiliated with gamma rays unless the answer to

Quoting Lehpron (Thread starter):
But don't neutrons decay into gamma rays and thus would make them just as dangerous as fission?

is yes.

According to http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/particles/proton.html, neutrons decay to an electron and an electron antineutrino, not gamma rays. I have just told you everything I know about electron antineutrinos.  Wink
"The deeper you go, the higher you fly. The higher you fly, the deeper you go."
 
stuckinMAF
Posts: 1022
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RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:22 am

I would love to answer all these questions for you, but you might be a terrorist and I'd hate to give away that kind of information to someone who might use it in a destructive way!

Quoting Lehpron (Thread starter):
antimatter reactions involve two particles of opposite charge coming together naturally

Somebody's been watching too much Star Trek.
"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity" -Sigmund Freud
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 6:00 am

Quoting Logan22L (Reply 2):
I would define gamma rays as the most damaging radiation to living creatures, but I'm not a physicist

Gamma rays are both the most lethal to biological tissue and the most penetrating of all forms of ionizing radiation.

Quoting Lehpron (Thread starter):
a fission reaction involves particles breaking apart and releasing energy, does this type of reaction release the most damaging radiation to living creatures?

A fission reaction leaves extremly dangerous byproducts in the form of radioactive waste. In a fission power plant, a spent fuel rod will contain HLW (High Level Waste). This matter will remain radioactive for decades to centuries, depending on half-life, and pose a significant danger to human health.

A fusion reaction will generate gamma radiation, but the waste byproducts are
harmless. The gamma burst would be absorbed by the containment vessle and the helium would remain in the fusion plasma.

In laymans terms, fission generation produces far more radiation hazards than a theoretical fusion generator.

Quoting Lehpron (Thread starter):
Is it simply to early to speak of antimatter as nuclear?

Far too early. The most advanced research institutions in the world can only produce a few nanograms at a time.

There is some facinating general information about nuclear radiation and nuclear technology at Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fusion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_power
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fission
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_reactor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_waste
 
whitehatter
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RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 6:26 am

Christmas reading list for everyone:

"A briefer history of time"

Steven Hawking's bestseller has been rewritten with a partner, and made much more accessible. You will find a lot of answers in there, and it's not as scary as the original book becomes towards the end.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
lehpron
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RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 6:54 am

StuckinMAF, people like you can choose inform yourselves or shut the hell up: The Reality of Antimatter Next time ask without making assumption, I really do not tolerate that shit.

Thanks to everyone else for the info. The main point of this thread actually was the learn about anti-matter and the results from a reaction. I just figured it was a third form of nuclear but it was not considered as such in mainstream science. I thought I'd teach myself in the process of discussing the other two forms. Knowing what comes out of a reaction with two particles, I couldn't tell if the prodcuts of such a reaction was dengerous. Again, info on the subject is limited.

I have this idea and have been wanting to get feedback on it, but I wonder if I post it in a public forum I might not be able to patent it if it can work.

[Edited 2005-12-20 22:55:38]
The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
 
stuckinMAF
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RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:02 am

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 6):
StuckinMAF, people like you can choose inform yourselves or shut the hell up

OK, I'll shut the hell up.

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 6):
I really do not tolerate that shit.

So what is that supposed to mean? Is it a threat? It certainly sounds like it.

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 6):
I might not be able to patent it if it can work.

Good for you, I hope you can get it to work, and I hope you are able to make enough money off of it to buy yourself a sense of humor.
"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity" -Sigmund Freud
 
exarmywarrant
Posts: 263
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:03 am

RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:06 am

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 6):
StuckinMAF, people like you can choose inform yourselves or shut the hell up: The Reality of Antimatter Next time ask without making assumption, I really do not tolerate that shit.

Touchy, ain't he...  bomb 
 
DrDeke
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RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:45 am

LOL. Well this thread degenerated quickly. I can and will, however, chime in on question #2. I do not have a source to cite for this, but I read it recently in what I considered at the time to be a reputable source.


Background:

It is not dangerous to society for gamma radiation to be emitted inside of a nuclear power facility. Gamma radiation can be considered in one respect to be like light. If visible light caused cancer and you were in a room with an operating light bulb, you would want to turn it off damn fast. Once you turned it off, there would be no more "light radiation" in the room, and everything would be alright from then on.

The main problem with certain nuclear reactions is not that they produce gamma radiation. The problem is that they cause other materials to emit gamma radiation! These "other materials" include the fuel, the reactor itself, and pretty much anything that comes into contact with the reacting particles.

Hence in a nuclear bomb attack, the radiation from the explosion itself is a one-time thing. You either get a big enough dose to cause harm or death or you don't. However, the more serious and widespread danger is that the explosion (I believe this has to do with neutron activity, but I do not know the exact method of action) is going to cause a lot of dirt and dust to BECOME RADIOACTIVE. That is to say, the dirt and dust will start emitting harmful gamma rays.

This is the same reason that "spent" nuclear fuel assemblies are dangerous. Not because they have been exposed to radiation, but because they EMIT radiation.


The Actual Question:

As for nuclear fusion, I read that what is considered to be the "easiest" fusion reaction to achieve in a controlled setting, does in fact cause materials in proximity to the reaction to become radioactive. In this sense, the process would be no "better" than commercial fusion reactions, in that it would still produce dangerous radioactive waste.

However, there is more than one nuclear fusion reaction that can happen, just like there is more than one nuclear fission reaction that can happen.

One fusion reaction that has been identified is thought NOT to cause materials in its vicinity to become radioactive. This would obviously have great potential in power-generation applications. The key problem is that this reaction is much harder to produce and control with current technology and knowledge than many of the "dirtier" fusion reactions, meaning that it will presumably not be ready for commercial use as soon as a "dirty" fusion reaction will be.

I think that this entire subject is quite interesting and I will try to hunt down some of the articles that I read about this recently and post links here if I do find them.

-DrDeke
If you don't want it known, don't say it on a phone.
 
MrChips
Posts: 933
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 2:56 pm

RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:30 pm

Quoting Lehpron (Thread starter):
Is/would an antimatter reaction be nuclear? From what I am familiar with, antimatter reactions involve two particles of opposite charge coming together naturally but there is a charge cancelation and the energy release is the total sum of the particle masses as neutrons decaying into gamma radiation. Would this radiation be as dangerous as fisson or worse because there is more per particle interation?

Not opposite charges, opposite entirely. In particle accelerators, we have created a few atoms of antihydrogen, but they obviously don't last long. And yes, the energy released is almost equal to E=mc^2...it is impossible to reach that level of perfection.

Finally, matter-antimatter reactions release all kinds of radiation across the spectrum, specifically high-energy (X-ray, gamma, high-energy gamma) radiation.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 4):

Gamma rays are both the most lethal to biological tissue and the most penetrating of all forms of ionizing radiation.

Not quite...gamma radiation is the most penetrating, but the least harmful form of ionizing radiation. This is because of the fact that it penetrates stuff so easily - the chance of it reacting with an atom is much less than an alpha or beta particle.

Even though they cannot penetrate skin, alpha particles are the most damaging form of ionizing radiation if ingested by humans or animals.
Time...to un-pimp...ze auto!
 
jwenting
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RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:11 pm

Quoting Lehpron (Thread starter):
a fission reaction involves particles breaking apart and releasing energy, does this type of reaction release the most damaging radiation to living creatures?

yes, no, not exclusively.
A fission reaction can produce many kinds of high energy particles and radiation including (but not limited to) alpha and beta particles and gamma radiation.
It will typically also produce neutron particles which are needed to maintain the reaction.
Alpha and beta particles are easily stopped even by normal clothing, let alone the containment shield of the reactor.
Neutrons too are easily stopped by the reaction mass itself, moderator, and containment vessel.

Gamma radiation consists of high energy photons not dissimilar to X-rays (though typically of different energy levels) and light (though of far higher energy).
The exact energy levels released depend on the actual reaction taking place (including the state of the isotopes reacting).

Note that all radiation will only be harmful after a specific dose over a period of time.

Quoting Lehpron (Thread starter):
a fusion reaction involves particles coming together and then coming apart, releasing teachnically harmless radiation. I am refering to the release of neutrons as well as Helium gas. But don't neutrons decay into gamma rays and thus would make them just as dangerous as fission?

This is actually the exact same radiation being released in a fission reaction.
Neutrons don't decay into gamma rays, nothing decays into gamma rays.
Gamma radiation is a byproduct of the decay of matter, consisting of pure energy.

Gamma radiation can well be set free in a fusion reaction but the nature of the system would likely have the majority of it go towards keeping up the temperature of the plasma and thus not being released.
Containment vessels will still need shielding though.

Quoting Lehpron (Thread starter):
Is/would an antimatter reaction be nuclear? From what I am familiar with, antimatter reactions involve two particles of opposite charge coming together naturally but there is a charge cancelation and the energy release is the total sum of the particle masses as neutrons decaying into gamma radiation. Would this radiation be as dangerous as fisson or worse because there is more per particle interation?

Matter-antimatter reactions produce pure gamma radiation by total annihillation of the component particles in the reaction.

Whether it would be more "dangerous" than anything else would depend on the actual energy levels of the gamma photons being produced.

Quoting MrChips (Reply 10):
Not quite...gamma radiation is the most penetrating, but the least harmful form of ionizing radiation. This is because of the fact that it penetrates stuff so easily - the chance of it reacting with an atom is much less than an alpha or beta particle.

Even though they cannot penetrate skin, alpha particles are the most damaging form of ionizing radiation if ingested by humans or animals.

Correct. I'm assuming the particles are not ingested through contaminated materials nor produced inside the body after radioactive contaminants in food are ingested to decay inside the body.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 4):
A fission reaction leaves extremly dangerous byproducts in the form of radioactive waste. In a fission power plant, a spent fuel rod will contain HLW (High Level Waste). This matter will remain radioactive for decades to centuries, depending on half-life, and pose a significant danger to human health.

Wrong. The "HLW" is a mix of radioactive elements, most of which are rather harmless (being Uranium).
The problem is that it is currently illegal to refine out the small percentage of short lived isotopes, a process that would greatly reduce the required storage in both time and volume (as the essentially harmless bulk could be either reused as fuel for reactors, used for scientific and medical work, or treated as chemical waste (being below the legal limit to be classed nuclear waste).

Refining the waste into categories based on half-life would enable storage and handling to be a lot safer, cheaper, and less long term than it is now.
These laws are a major victory for the anti-nuclear lobby.

Quoting DrDeke (Reply 9):
As for nuclear fusion, I read that what is considered to be the "easiest" fusion reaction to achieve in a controlled setting, does in fact cause materials in proximity to the reaction to become radioactive. In this sense, the process would be no "better" than commercial fusion reactions, in that it would still produce dangerous radioactive waste.

The ionising radiation released during a nuclear fusion reaction can cause decay of anything it hits.
These decayed materials will likely be radioactive to a degree.
There is no way around this, though extremely strong EM fields to contain the fusion plasma should provide a measure of shielding (though of course at a price as they take tremendous energy to maintain).
Of course the only thing powerful enough to start up a fusion reaction that can be self contained is currently a nuclear powerstation (or another fusion plant, but you have to start somewhere)  Smile
I wish I were flying
 
DrDeke
Posts: 805
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RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:49 pm

Quoting DrDeke (Reply 9):
In this sense, the process would be no "better" than commercial fusion reactions, in that it would still produce dangerous radioactive waste.

Bah! I meant no better than commercial _fission_ reactions.

-DrDeke
If you don't want it known, don't say it on a phone.
 
mrmeangenes
Posts: 555
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RE: Bunch Of Nuclear Questions...

Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:16 am

Just recalling some "ancient" speculations: the existence of positrons MIGHT suggest the existence of "contraterrene" matter; ie: matter that is positively charged -as opposed to the negatively charged matter in our section of the universe.

Some of the speculation may be found in late 1940's-early 1950's science fiction.

The contact of CT matter and terrene matter would result in the annihilation of both, with the release of a huge amount of energy.

As a corollary, some speculated a 3rd type of matter-neutrally charged-might exist,and might act as a buffer between the terrene and contraterrene; but that doesn't make scientific sense.
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