What happens if the Japan Reactors are not controlled

Even before the earthquake and subsequent tsunami is much less a burning issue, the nuclear crisis is become another problem in Japan following the quake. The risk in the country Japan is evident, with dangers ranging from emission of radiation to the meltdown. I will try to explain here what happens when a nuclear reactor is not controlled.

To explain what will happens in an uncontrolled scenario, it is necessary to understand how nuclear energy works. I will try to explain it simply, according to everything I’ve read in recent days.

How Nuclear Power Works

The process of nuclear energy is based on a clash between various elements within the central core. When there uranium, thorium and plutonium are a neutron is an impact between the two, which releases energy creating two neutrons, which then impact with two atomic nuclei to be returned to multiply and so on. This process generates a lot of energy as heat. What we are looking at the plants is to make this process in a controlled manner, so that different procedures apply, using a material to dilute the fusible material and slow neutrons, using a material commonly called moderator. With these two processes can control what happens in the process, but for that to be effective, nuclear energy must be removed, for what you use a liquid coolant, which also serve to cool the reactor.

How Nuclear Reactor Works

In the case of central Fukushima used coolant is ordinary water. This passes through the reactor, cools and generates steam. The steam passes through a series of turbines that are connected to a generator and that is where the electricity is generated then we can use, the process is repeated continuously. An more detailed explanation of this can be read at a book by Quirantes Arthur, professor of physics at the University of Granada.

How Nuclear Power Plant Works

Of what has happened in central Fukushima most are familiar, but basically, the earthquake reactor automatically stopped and then the two systems failed to cool first and then the electric diesel engines, which were affected by the tsunami. Thereafter the reactor starts to overheat and the pressure increases, thus releasing some radioactive steam to the containment building airtight. Subsequently there have been explosions that destroyed the walls of the reactor building. The operators were able to run the cooling pumps, which use seawater to cool the reactor together with boric acid, which slows the nuclear reaction process.

Now let’s what happens when a meltdown. Normally, the reactor operates at about 1,200 degrees Celsius and there is a real risk when you reach melting 3,000 degrees. The meltdown may occur due to different causes, mainly because the reactor power can not be controlled because it can not properly cool the reactor, either by loss of coolant or inability to operate the system. The latter is what is happening in central Fukushima. When temperature exceeds the above barrier fusion takes place the nucleus, which occurs when the material used, usually uranium goes from solid to liquid state. This will result in the destruction of the reactor and more importantly, a possible collapse of the structure of the building, which is what happened at Chernobyl because of something much more serious, a reactor explosion, and the possible leakage of radioactive material into the ground (which has never happened yet).

It is still in memory all that happened at Chernobyl and the greater fear is what if Japan produces a tragedy of this kind another time. For the moment it looks like it will not and even if there is a meltdown, the consequences need not be the same as the central structure of Fukushima is safer than Chernobyl. However, I hope we do not get to see if it is true or not, as it will mean that there has been no meltdown and eventually the situation has been controlled.


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