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P2.7 Energy from the Nucleus


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Low mass star
A star that has a much smaller mass than the Sun.
High mass star
A star that has a much greater mass than the Sun.
Coolant
Fluid in a sealed circuit pumped through the core of a nuclear reactor to remove energy to a heat exchanger.
Control rods
Metal rods (made of boron or cadmium) used to absorb excess fission neutrons in a nuclear reactor so that only one fission neutron per fission on average goes on to produce further fission.
Chain reaction
Reactions in which one reaction causes further reactions, which in turn cause further reactions, etc. A nuclear chain reaction occurs when fission neutrons cause further fission, so more fission neutrons are released. These go on to produce further fission.
Black Dwarf
A star that has faded out and gone cold.
Black Hole
An object in space that has so much mass that nothing, not even light, can escape from its gravitational field.
Main Sequence Star
The main stage is the life of a star during which it radiates energy because of fusion of hydrogen nuclei in its core.
Moderator
A solid or liquid used in a nuclear reactor to slow fission neutrons down so they can cause further fission.
Neutron star
The highly compressed core of a massive star that remains after a supernova explosion.
Nuclear fission
The process in which certain nuclei (uranium-235 and plutonium-239) split into two fragments, releasing energy and two or three neutrons as a result.
Nuclear fission reactor
A reactor that releases energy as a result of nuclear fission inside it.
Nuclear fusion
The process in which small nuclei are forced together so they fuse with each other to form a larger nucleus.
Protostar
The concentration of dust clouds and gas in space that forms a star.
Radiation dose
Amount of ionising radiation a person receives.
Red giant
A star that has expanded and cooled, resulting in it becoming red and much larger and cooler than it was before it expanded.
Supergiant
A massive star that becomes much larger than a giant star when fusion of helium nuclei commences.
Supernova
The explosion of a massive star after fusion in its core ceases and the matter surrounding its core collapses on to the core and rebounds.
White dwarf
A star that has collapsed from the red giant stage to become much hotter and denser than it was.
Planets
A large object that moves in an orbit round a star. This reflects light from the star and does not produce its own light.