Science Questions

How much juice is left in fuel rods?

Sun, 19th Oct 2008

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Fusion - The Power of the Sun


John, Peterborough asked:

Nuclear power plants - how much energy remains in there once you've taken the rods out?


Steve - Nuclear power plants arenít doing fusion, theyíre doing fission which is splitting big nuclei up: uranium. In a nuclear power plant you only use a very small fraction of the uranium so thereís something like 50 times more energy left in there that weíre unable to tap except through whatís called fast breeder reactors which we donít currently do.

Chris - How do they work?

Steve - This is a long question. They work by using the fast neutrons from nuclear reactions, from uranium, to attach to the inert part of uranium (uranium 238) to make plutonium. Plutonium can fission like uranium 235. Thatís a complicated answer.


Subscribe Free

Related Content

Not working please enable javascript
Powered by UKfast
Genetics Society