Fundamental physics can sometimes bring as much to science and society. This is reminiscent of what the work of an international group on the energy released by radioactive nuclei produced during nuclear fission.
In a nuclear reactor, the bulk of the energy released is the product of nuclear fission: bombarded by neutrons, nuclei of uranium or plutonium is split by issuing a large amount of energy. But part of the total energy produced by the reactor – about eight per cent – comes from fission products: radioactive, most of these nuclei gradually disintegrate into a cascade of stable nuclei, emitting the energy in the form of electrons or positrons (β radiation) and photon (γ radiation), even when the reactor is off. So it does not trigger a chain reaction in the reactor and to protect personnel radioactive emissions, this energy must be dissipated, especially after the shut down.
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