News Exercise #85

This week almost all BBC news concerns the British general election, which isn’t very interesting to those outside of the UK. Because of that, I have decided to use one of the BBC’s general interest topics.

As this is basically a physics lecture, here are some key vocabulary used:
uranium oxide
nuclear reaction
pivotal role = key role
continuous cascade = chain reaction
critical = past the point of being able to stop
1) He used an idiom as a joke in his opening. Did you catch it? And what does it mean?
“It all just boils down to this,” is an idiom meaning, “This is the fundamental point”.
2)How did he compare the pressure of the energy inside the reactor core?
He said that it was under a similar pressure that you’d find a half a mile below the ocean(‘s surface), pushing the wall apart with a force of around 40,000 tons.
3) What happens when things break apart?
He said that they tend to release the energy stored in whatever was holding them together.
4) In his example he used scissors, but in the real reaction what is used to split the atoms?
They use neutrons.
5) How does a continuous cascade occur?
When the neutron breaks the atom, releasing energy, it also releases more neutrons, which then follow the same pattern, all releasing more energy and more neutrons.
6) What is the role of water?
Water slows down the speed of the neutrons to a speed that is perfect for being absorbed by the uranium.