Question
Even when shut down after a period of normal use, a large commercial nuclear reactor transfers thermal energy at the rate of 150 MW by the radioactive decay of fission products. This heat transfer causes a rapid increase in temperature if the cooling system fails (1 watt = 1 joule/second or 1 W = 1 J/s and 1 MW = 1 megawatt) . (a) Calculate the rate of temperature increase in degrees Celsius per second ($\textrm{C}^\circ\textrm{/s}$) if the mass of the reactor core is $1.60\times 10^{5}\textrm{ kg}$ kg and it has an average specific heat of 0.3349 kJ/kgo ⋅ C . (b) How long would it take to obtain a temperature increase of $2000^\circ\textrm{C}$, which could cause some metals holding the radioactive materials to melt? (The initial rate of temperature increase would be greater than that calculated here because the heat transfer is concentrated in a smaller mass. Later, however, the temperature increase would slow down because the $5\times 10^{5}\textrm{ kg}$ steel containment vessel would also begin to heat up.)
1. $2.80\textrm{ C}^\circ\textrm{/s}$
2. $11.9\textrm{ min}$

# OpenStax College Physics for AP® Courses, Chapter 14, Problem 10 (Problems & Exercises)  In order to watch this solution you need to have a subscription.

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