Environmental Engineering Reference
isotope: A form of an element
with a specii c number of neutrons.
Some isotopes, called radioisotopes,
give off radiation and thereby turn,
or decay, into other isotopes or
moderator: A substance used in
a nuclear reactor to slow down
speeding neutrons so that they will
be more likely to be captured by
atoms and cause i ssion.
neutron: A particle found in the
nuclei of atoms that has no charge.
nucleus: The central part of an
atom that contains one or more
protons and, in most cases,
plutonium: A radioactive element
usually made in reactors by nuclear
power: The rate at which energy is
used to do work. People often say
“electric power” or “power” to refer
to electricity; for example, nuclear
power commonly means electricity
produced from nuclear energy.
power plant: A place for the
production of electric power,
also sometimes called a “power
proton: A positively charged
particle found in the nuclei of
radiation: Various kinds of energy
given off by objects; examples
include light and the harmful
rays and particles given off by
radioactive waste: Materials
that give off harmful radiation, or
radioactivity, and are left over from
the production of nuclear power.
renewable: A resource, such as a
source of energy, that never gets
used up. Energy sources such as
sunlight and wind are renewable.
Energy sources such as coal, natural
gas, and oil are nonrenewable.
reprocess: To treat used, or spent,
reactor fuel in order to make use of
uranium and plutonium remaining
in the fuel.
sustainability: The capacity to
last and not be used up. The word
is often used with regard to ways of
living and working that leave plenty
of natural resources for the future.
terrorist: A person who uses
violence for political purposes.
thorium: A common radioactive
element that can be used as a
source of uranium to be used in
turbine: A machine that produces
a turning action, which can be used
to make electricity. The turning
action may be caused by steam,
wind, or some other energy source.
uranium: A radioactive element
that is a heavy silvery-white metal.