The History of Nuclear Power

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Nuclear Power is a six-volume set that explores the science, mechanisms, divergent developments, dangers, successes, disasters, and lessons learned by a complex industry that wilt influence society for generations. Nuclear technology today is focused on issues related to dwindling energy resources and minimizing negative environmental affects, yet it was first developed under military secrecy because of its destructive capability. The books in this set, designed to complement science curricula, detail this conflicted history, the expansion of nuclear power in the near future, and the potential need for it as humankind penetrates the greater universe.

The History of Nuclear Power provides a fundamental introduction to this complicated and controversial subject. In addition to chronicling the tremendous advances made in science and technology over the past century, the book follows the evolution of nuclear technology as both a practical and controversial means of meeting the worldwide need for electrical power, as oil and coal supplies diminish and carbon dioxide levels increase. The volume features a number of sidebars that supplement the historical narrative, including fascinating observations by many of the pioneering scientists involved in the development of nuclear technology.

The volume also includes information on

the atomic bomb

nuclear fission

early concepts of atomic structure

nuclear weaponry development

Japan and its nuclear crisis following the recent earthquake and tsunami

quantum mechanics

radioactive decay

the Manhattan Project

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816076499
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Series: Nuclear Power Series
  • Pages: 178
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments x

Introduction xi

1 Centuries of Atomic Structure Theories 1

Earliest Concepts of Atomic Structure 2

Fluorescence and the Discovery of Radioactivity 5

Evidence of Prehistoric Nuclear Activity 6

Proof That Atoms Can Be Broken 12

Marie and Pierre Curie Find Radium in Uranium Ore 18

2 Discovery of the Atomic Nucleus 19

Ernest Rutherford Starts Naming Rays and Particles 21

The Energy Released by Radioactive Decay 22

Ernest Rutherford: The Man Who Sorted Out the Atomic Structure 22

The Discovery of the Atomic Nucleus 23

3 Monumental Theories 27

Max Planck (1858-1947) and the Elementary Quantum of Action 28

The Copenhagen Interpretation 30

Niels Bohr Imposes Quantum Mechanics on the Atomic Model 32

Counterintuitive Aspects of Quantum Mechanics 32

4 Nuclear Fission Is Discovered 35

James Chadwick Proposes a Neutron 36

Leó Szilárd Thinks of the Self-Sustaining Chain Reaction 38

The Remote Collaboration of Otto Hahn (1879-1968) and Lise Meitner (1878-1968) 41

Lise Meitner: A Refugee Scientist 44

The Race Is On 44

5 A Gathering of Nuclear Scientists in the United States 47

The Feared Threat of a German Atomic Bomb 48

The Interesting Effects of Neutrons at Low Speeds 50

Niels Bohr: The Last of the Refugees 52

An Exodus from Europe 55

Preliminary Nuclear Research in the United States 56

6 The First Sustained Nuclear Power Production 59

A Letter to the President of the United States from Albert Einstein 60

The Need for Secrecy 63

The First Nuclear Reactor 64

The Manhattan Project Begins 70

7 Nuclear Weaponry Development 73

First Work at the Los Alamos Laboratory 74

Two Atomic Bomb Designs Diverge 80

Espionage in the Laboratory 81

Nuclear Weapons Research in Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union 83

The Trinity Test 86

Japan Surrenders 90

8 Atoms for Peace and Atoms for War 93

The Building of the Nautilus 94

The Atomic Energy Act and Atoms for Peace 101

Admiral Hyman Rickover: Father of the Nuclear Navy 102

The BORAX Reactors in Idaho 106

9 America Goes Nuclear 109

The First Civilian Power Reactors 111

Safety Analysis 116

Nuclear Power Becomes Commercial 116

The Environmental Protection Agency and Long-Term 124

Spent-Fuel Storage 124

Nuclear Power Goes into a Long Sleep 128

New Realities 129

Conclusion 132

Chronology 134

Glossary 142

Further Resources 149

Index 157

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