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Old 10-24-2015, 08:11 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
No, that's not the way it works. If you didn't pay attention in high school physics, and haven't figured out how to use Google, Wikipedia, and other web resources (or your local public library), it goes something like this:

The U-235 used in power plants is actually not all that radioactive, with a half-life around 700 million years. In nature, it goes through a chain of alpha & beta decays, eventually winding up as lead:

However, it also has the property that if you hit it with a slow neutron, it breaks apart into (usually) two chunks plus some extra neutrons &c, releasing a bunch of energy. The chunks can be (and usually are) much more radioactive than the original U-235.
Precisely, which speeds up the half-life of naturally occurring U235, which speeds up the amount of time that the radioactive substance is radioactive. The stuff is going to decay naturally, why not exploit the energy released instead of leaving it in the environment?
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