CREATORSettle, Frank
TITLENuclear Chemistry and the Community
DATE ACCESSED15 November 2016

Part of the ChemCases website at Kennesaw State University funded by the National Science Foundation, this unit covers the basic concepts of nuclear chemistry. It begins with Chadwick's discovery of the neutron and the rapid elucidation of the decay and fission of the heavy element atoms. From that science came the realization that the energy produced could be used for weapons—a thought that crystallized just as world war seemed imminent in 1939. The unit describes the chemistry of the actinide elements and shows how isolation of uranium isotopes and the discovery and isolation of the synthetic element plutonium led to weapons in the hands of the Allies and ended World War II, followed by thermonuclear weapons during the Cold War. The unit also describes the chemistry of the nuclear fuel cycle: the front end, from uranium metallurgy through the fabrication of fuel rods and uranium enrichment; the service period in nuclear reactors; and the back end, including reprocessing of spent fuel and nuclear waste. The unit has sections on the biological effects of radiation, radiological terrorism, and nuclear proliferation. It ends with problems for students and a case study in proliferation.

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