Nuclear Reactor vs. Nuclear Bomb

Difference Between Nuclear Reactor and Nuclear Bomb

Recently, a disaster occurred in Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Power Station. The explosion occurred due to the Tsunami caused by a massive earthquake. Since then nuclear reactors are in the news. The governing principle of the energy in a power plant is the similar which governs a a nuclear bomb. So there is little difference between a nuclear bomb or an explosion in a nuclear power plant.  As far as the danger is concerned both of them may be equally disastrous.

Nuclear Reactor

Nuclear reactor is a machine in which the power of atoms is used to generate electricity. It contains and controls nuclear chain reaction. It produces a great amount of energy which is used in power generation. The nuclear reactor may produce isotopes of radioactive element. These isotopes are used in the researches and cancer treatment. The difference between nuclear reactor and a nuclear bomb is that in a nuclear bomb chain reaction is meant for destruction while it is controlled and used for electricity production in nuclear reactor. The basic principle used in the both is chain reaction. Reactors make use of fuel generated by heavy atoms. Radioactive nucleus like Uranium 235 is struck by the neutrons, resulting in the nucleus to split. The process is called nuclear fission. When a nucleus breaks it releases great quantity of kinetic energy. Along with it, free neutrons and radiation is also released. This is called the chain reaction. In reactors these neutrons are controlled. Thus the energy in a reactor is controlled and can be used for peaceful purposes. Usually heavy water and solid graphite are used as controllers.

Nuclear bomb

A nuclear bomb has a great destructive power. It is based on uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction. The process of fission and fusion in a nuclear bomb is used to generate a great amount of energy for destruction. An atomic bomb is a fission bomb while a Hydrogen bomb is a fusion bomb. The entire energy in a fission bomb is produced by the fission reaction. On the other hand nuclear fusion produce great amount of energy in a Hydrogen bomb which is a fusion bomb. Both of them are weapons of mass destruction. Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings are the example of mass destruction by nuclear bombs.

Nuclear bomb and nuclear reactors are based on the principles of chain reaction. However difference is that one is used for destruction of life and property while another is used for peaceful purposes. The chain reaction is controlled in a nuclear reactor while the chain reaction is uncontrolled in a nuclear bomb.


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