Nuclear Reactor Emergency Explained

Here is a concise (<9 min) video primer on nuclear reactors, what’s gone wrong with the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan, and why potassium iodide pills are dispensed to people exposed to fallout. The irrepressible Martyn Poliakoff, a chemistry professor at the University of Nottingham, in the U.K., and the creator of the Periodic Table of Videos, uses plain English, simple props, and his inimitable delivery to explain nuclear fission, chain reactions, how boron absorbs neutrons to control the chain reaction, why hydrogen is being generated in the reactors, and more.

Author: Rudy Baum

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3 Comments

  1. The video was done in a very clear way for scientists and “non-scientists” alike.

  2. Very interesting and informative. I didn’t know about the formation of zirconium oxide and how it introduced the possibility for explosions within the reactor. I wish I could speak half as clearly and concisely as Dr. Poliakoff!

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