How To Build a Safer Reactor

All nuclear reactors work by splitting large atoms into smaller pieces, producing heat. The danger is that the nuclear fuel, unless properly cooled, can overheat and melt through containment walls, releasing radioactivity into the environment. Most commercial reactors guard against meltdown by ensuring that the fuel is always surrounded by circulating coolant, usually ordinary / water. But what if a pipe bursts and the water is lost? Or if the water boils off? To prevent such mishaps, today's reactors have backup systems and backups to the backups. But no matter how many layers of redundancy are built into a conventional reactor,...

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