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Chapter 11 Review Answers

1. A
2. The fission of uranium-235 (through formation of the intermediate uranium-236) produces
two or three neutrons.
3. D
4. Heavy water and graphite
5. Heavy water (D2O) is chemically identical to normal water (H2O), but each molecule is
formed with deuterium atoms (
or D) instead of ordinary hydrogen atoms (
nuclear reactors, heavy water is used as a moderator and coolant.

). In some

6. a) Uranium-238 is more common

b) Uranium-238 does not undergo fission readily, but uranium-235 does (through the
intermediate uranium-236).
7. D
8. B

b) The positively charged alpha particles may collide with and pick up two electrons from the
negatively charged thorium-234 ions, producing neutral helium-4 atoms.
10. a) The mission term is

b) beta decay
12. In a CANDU reactor, heavy water (D2O) is used as a moderator and coolant. As a coolant, it
removes the heat generated in the reactor core. The reactor also has cadmium control rods that
control the rate of fission, and therefore the heat output.
13. D

16. D
17. The three primary components of a nuclear reactor are fuel, coolant, and control rods. The
fuel is the material that undergoes fission; the coolant removes heat from the reactant core; and
the control rods absorb neutrons and thus control the rate of fission and the heat output.
19. The fuel (such as uranium or plutonium) used for an atomic bomb is stored at below the
critical mass, which is the minimum mass needed to start the fission chain reaction.
20. Although many safety features are incorporated into nuclear power plants, and their record of
safe operation is very high, no plant can be called perfectly safe. One major concern is the
possibility of a meltdown, which could occur if the nuclear fission process were to go out of
control, generating excess heat that could melt the materials containing the reactor, resulting in
explosions and fire. Also, as reactors age, there is an increasing danger of minor failures of
materials that could allow the release of radioactive materials into the environment.
21. Nuclear fusion requires extremely high temperatures, making it impossible to hold the fuel in
any container.
22. D
23. B
24. Critical mass is the minimum mass of fuel needed to produce a fission chain reaction. If the
critical mass is not achieved, neutrons will escape from the fuel and the fission reactions will
25. C
26. A