How do Nuclear Reactors Generate Neutrinos?


A basic fission chain reaction involving uranium-235

  • Nuclear reactors produce electric energy by the process of nuclear fission.
  • Fission is a process that occurs when a heavy element such as uranium and plutonium becomes unstable and subsequently splits into lighter elements.
  • In the case of nuclear reactors, the uranium is bombarded with neutrons which causes the instability.
  • Antineutrinos, energetic photons, and free neutrons are the byproducts of nuclear fission.
  • As many as 1020 electron anti-neutrinos are emitted from average 1GWth nuclear reactor every second!
  • The free neutrons cause a chain reaction as more and more uranium atoms are made unstable by their presence.

To learn more about nuclear reactors visit http://www.howstuffworks.com/nuclear-power.htm or http://world-nuclear.org/info/inf32.html or http://www.nrc.gov/reactors.html