Check us out at http://www.tutorvista.com A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate, control, and sustain a nuclear chain reaction. The most common use of nuclear reactors is for the generation of electrical power (see Nuclear power) and for the power in some ships (see Nuclear marine propulsion). This is usually accomplished by methods that involve using heat from the nuclear reaction to power steam turbines. There are also other less common uses as discussed below. Most nuclear reactors use a chain reaction to induce a controlled rate of nuclear fission in fissile material, releasing both energy and free neutrons. A reactor consists of an assembly of nuclear fuel (a reactor core), usually surrounded by a neutron moderator such as regular water, heavy water, graphite, or zirconium hydride, and fitted with mechanisms such as control rods that control the rate of the reaction. Nuclear reactor physics is the branch of science that deals with the study and application of chain reaction to induce controlled rate of fission for energy in reactors. The physics of nuclear fission has several quirks that affect the design and behavior of nuclear reactors. This article presents a general overview of the physics of nuclear reactors and their behavior.
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