强大的力量就快与我们同在

发自汉堡——大约60年前,核能的发现为世界能源问题承诺了一条终极解决方案。但时至今日,这一承诺却依旧未能实现。核技术的发展止步不前,许多核电站使用的还是半个世纪以前发展出来的技术。

核能是由铀和钍这类重元素的裂变反应所产生的。反应中,这些元素的原子核通常会裂变成两个较小的原子核以及两三个中子,并释放出比任何化学反应都大几百万倍的能量。而重元素之所以中拥有如此巨大的能量,就是因为其内部储存了超新星爆发时所释放出来的一小部分能量,要知道正是这种能量在大约50亿年前创造了地球和整个太阳系。

当今的核电站使用一种特殊的铀元素(铀235)作为燃料,通过从一个原子核裂变反应中释放中子并引发另一原子核裂变的链式反应来产生能量。但不管是储量比铀235丰富一百倍的铀238还是更容易从自然界中获取的钍都无法被大规模地用于生产能量。

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