Worksheet: Nuclear Fission

In this worksheet, we will practice describing the process of nuclear fission and how nuclear fission reactors work.

Q1:

An atomic nucleus in the core of a nuclear reactor is struck by a neutron, causing it to split into two smaller nuclei and release several neutrons. What is the name of this process?

  • ANuclear fusion
  • BSpontaneous nuclear fission
  • CAlpha decay
  • DInduced nuclear fission
  • EBeta decay

Q2:

Which of the following correctly describes the process of induced nuclear fission?

  • AThe nucleus of an atom of a fissionable substance is struck by an electron, causing the nucleus to split into two smaller fragment nuclei and release several electrons.
  • BThe nucleus of an atom of a fissionable substance is struck by a proton, causing the nucleus to split into two smaller fragment nuclei and release several protons.
  • CThe nucleus of an atom of a fissionable substance is struck by a neutron, causing the nucleus to split into at least three smaller fragment nuclei.
  • DThe nucleus of an atom of a fissionable substance is struck by a neutron, causing the nucleus to split into two smaller fragment nuclei and release several neutrons.
  • EThe nucleus of an atom of a fissionable substance is struck by a neutron, which is absorbed. The nucleus then becomes unstable and decays via beta decay.

Q3:

Which of the following correctly describes the process of spontaneous nuclear fission?

  • AThe nucleus of an atom of a fissionable substance is struck by a proton, causing the nucleus to split into two smaller fragment nuclei and release several protons.
  • BThe nucleus of an atom of a fissionable substance is struck by a neutron, causing the nucleus to split into two smaller fragment nuclei and release several neutrons.
  • CThe nucleus of an atom splits without being struck by a neutron, resulting in at least three smaller nuclei and two or three high-speed protons.
  • DThe nucleus of an atom splits without being struck by a neutron, resulting in two smaller nuclei and two or three high-speed neutrons.
  • ETwo atomic nuclei collide and combine to form a single larger nucleus.

Q4:

Which two of the following are used as fuel in nuclear fission reactors?

  1. Iridium
  2. Lead
  3. Uranium
  4. Polonium
  5. Plutonium
  • Ab and c
  • Ba and b
  • Cd and e
  • Dc and e
  • Ec and d

Q5:

In a nuclear fission reactor, the takes heat away from the core to a heat exchanger so that the heat can be used to generate steam for electricity generation. The slows down the neutrons produced through fission so that they are more likely to interact with another nucleus and keep the chain reaction going. The absorb surplus neutrons and keep the reaction under control.

  • Acoolant, moderator, fuel rods
  • Bmoderator, coolant, control rods
  • Cmoderator, coolant, fuel rods
  • Dcoolant, moderator, control rods
  • Ecoolant, concrete shield, control rods

Q6:

Which of the following describes the purpose of the coolant in a nuclear fission reactor?

  • AThe coolant is used to slow down the fission neutrons so that it is more likely that they will interact with another fissionable nucleus.
  • BThe coolant is used to absorb some of the neutrons. This keeps the chain reaction under control.
  • CThe coolant is used to speed up the fission neutrons so that it is more likely that they will interact with another fissionable nucleus and cause it to split.
  • DThe coolant takes heat away from the core to the heat exchanger, where it is used to make steam that is used for power generation.

Q7:

Which of the following materials is used for the control rods in a nuclear fission reactor?

  • AConcrete
  • BGraphite
  • CUranium
  • DBoron
  • EIridium

Q8:

The control rods in a nuclear fission reactor are rods made of boron that are placed in the reactor core.

Which of the following describes the purpose of control rods in a nuclear fission reactor?

  • AControl rods are used to speed up the fission neutrons such that it is more likely that they will interact with another fissionable nucleus and cause it to split.
  • BControl rods are used to slow down the fission neutrons such that it is more likely that they will interact with another fissionable nucleus.
  • CControl rods are used to remove heat from the reactor core, which is used to make steam for power generation.
  • DControl rods are used to absorb some of the neutrons. This keeps the chain reaction under control.

Does removing the control rods from the core of the reactor increase or decrease the rate of the chain reaction?

  • AIt increases it.
  • BIt decreases it.

Q9:

Which of the following is used as a moderator in some nuclear reactors?

  • AOxygen gas
  • BNitrogen gas
  • CLead
  • DWater
  • EConcrete

Q10:

Which of the following correctly describes the purpose of a moderator in a nuclear reactor?

  • AA moderator is used to increase the number of neutrons in the reactor to speed up the reaction.
  • BA moderator is used to speed up the fission neutrons such that it is more likely that they will interact with another fissionable nucleus and cause it to split.
  • CA moderator is used to absorb some of the neutrons in the reactor and slow the reaction down.
  • DA moderator is used to slow down the fission neutrons such that it is more likely that they will interact with another fissionable nucleus.
  • EA moderator is used to remove heat from the reactor core, which is used to make steam for power generation.

Q11:

The following nuclear equation shows the fission of uranium-235 into xenon and strontium:

How many neutrons are produced in this reaction?

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