What’s a dead giveaway that a person knows their stuff about nuclear power?

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Mudassir Ali
Feb 06, 2020 03:48 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 06, 2020 03:48 PM

If they hear “The reactor is critical” and take only a mild interest.

Most people don’t understand that all nuclear reactors are critical anytime they are operating. “Critical” is a term from physics – it just means that the neutron population (which is a measure of the rate of fission) is constant. Every single reactor, when it’s operating, is critical. Once my Naval reactor was critical for two weeks performing low-power physics testing – we were making about enough power to heat a pot of coffee. Or we could be critical for a few weeks during a high-speed transit making enough power to light up a town. Or anything in-between.

Most people think that “critical” is bad – a prelude to disaster. So if a person understands that it’s not a bad thing, chances are that they know more about nuclear power than the average person.

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