Physics:Criticality (status)

From HandWiki
Short description: State of a nuclear reactor where the nuclear chain reaction is precisely self-sustaining

In the operation of a nuclear reactor, criticality is the state in which a nuclear chain reaction is self-sustaining—that is, when reactivity is zero. In supercritical states, reactivity is greater than zero.[1]

Applications

Criticality is the normal operating condition of a nuclear reactor, in which nuclear fuel sustains a fission chain reaction. A reactor achieves criticality (and is said to be critical) when each fission releases a sufficient number of neutrons to sustain an ongoing series of nuclear reactions.[2]

The International Atomic Energy Agency defines the first criticality date as the date when the reactor is made critical for the first time.[3] This is an important milestone in the construction and commissioning of a nuclear power plant.

See also

References

  1. "Criticality". IAEA Safety Glossary. International Atomic Energy Agency. 2007. pp. 46. http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1290_web.pdf. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  2. "Criticality". Glossary. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 11 December 2013. https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/basic-ref/glossary/criticality.html. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  3. "First Criticality Date". Glossary. International Atomic Energy Agency. http://www.iaea.org/PRIS/Glossary.aspx. Retrieved 17 February 2014.