The key difference between nuclear reactor and nuclear bomb is that in nuclear reactor, the production of energy occurs under controlled and moderated conditions whereas in a nuclear bomb, it is uncontrolled.
Nuclear Reactor and Nuclear Bomb, both remind us immediately of the disasters in the world and especially in Japan. Likewise, nuclear reactors have come into the news especially as a result of the explosion at some of the nuclear plants in Fukushima Power Station owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) in Japan in the aftermath of the 2011 Japan Earthquake and the Tsunami that followed. Nuclear reactors in power plants also rely on the same technology that is important in nuclear weapons such as nuclear bombs though there are many differences between nuclear reactor and nuclear bomb. This article intends to clarify the difference between nuclear reactor and nuclear bomb to remove the confusion in the minds of the readers.
What is Nuclear Reactor?
A nuclear reactor or an atomic pile is a system that we use to initiate and control a nuclear chain reaction. Also, we use these reactors at nuclear power plants for peaceful purposes such as electricity generation and propulsion of ships.
In brief, the mechanism of action of this type of reactor includes the conversion of energy that releases from controlled nuclear fission into thermal energy which we can further convert into mechanical or electrical energy.
Categorisation of Nuclear Reactors
- According to the type of reaction
- Thermal reactors
- Fast neutron reactors
- According to the moderator material
- Graphite-moderated reactors
- Water moderated reactors
- Light element moderated reactors
- According to the coolant
- Pressurized water reactor
- Boiling water reactor
- Pol type reactor
- According to the type of fuel used
- Fluid fueled
What is Nuclear Bomb?
A nuclear bomb is an explosive device that can produce destructive substances and energy via nuclear reactions. These bombs may use either nuclear fission or a combination of nuclear fission and nuclear fusion reactions. Here, if it is a combination of both reactions, we name it as a thermonuclear bomb. However, both these types of bombs release a large amount of energy from very small amounts of matter.
Types of Nuclear Bombs
- Fission bombs
- Fusion bombs
- Other types such as boosted fission bombs, neutron bombs, pure fission bombs, etc.
Consequently, there are many harmful effects of an explosion of a nuclear bomb. In summary, the people who loved near the Hiroshima disaster and the ones who survived have some symptoms even after a long time from the disaster.
We can understand these effects by dividing the effects into several stages based on the time taken for the effect to come forward.
- Initial stage – during the weeks 1 to 9, a large number of deaths, mainly due to thermal injuries and blast effects.
- Intermediate stage – during the 10 to 12 weeks, deaths from ionizing radiation.
- Last stage – during the 13 to 20 weeks, some improvement in survivors conditions.
- Delayed stage – after 20 weeks, numerous complications mainly related to thermal and mechanical injuries, subfertility, infertility, blood disorders, cancers, etc.
What is the Difference Between Nuclear Reactor and Nuclear Bomb?
Both nuclear reactors and nuclear bombs use the same type of chemical reaction for the generation of energy; nuclear reactions. However, these two forms differ from each other in the way we produce energy and the application. Hence, the key difference between nuclear reactor and nuclear bomb is that in a nuclear reactor, the production of energy occurs under controlled and moderated conditions whereas, in a nuclear bomb, it is uncontrolled. Moreover, nuclear reactors are used for peaceful purposes such as electricity generation but, the nuclear bombs are used for destructive purposes.
The below infographic provides more facts on the difference between nuclear reactor and nuclear bomb.
Summary – Nuclear Reactor vs Nuclear Bomb
It is clear that both nuclear reactors and nuclear bombs use the same chain reaction to release energy in large amounts. However, the difference between nuclear reactor and nuclear bomb lies in the manner in which the way that each application control and utilize this energy. In nuclear bombs, the energy production occurs uncontrollably. Whereas, in nuclear reaction, the energy production occurs in a controlled and moderated manner to use if for peaceful purposes.
1.”20814654546″ by U.S. Government Accountability Office (U.S. Government Works) via Flickr
2.”Trinity Detonation T&B” By United States Department of Energy – Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie, (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia