Nuclear reactors fuel|
Before the advent of the nuclear energy, uranium had very limited uses. It was only used in filaments for lamps. Compounds of uranium have been used in photography for toning, and in the leather and wood industries for stains and dyes. Uranium salts are mordants of silk or wool.
By far the most important use of uranium lies in its application for nuclear (or atomic) energy. Three isotopes of uranium are of prime importance to the development of nuclear fuels and explosives (U 233, U 235 and U 238), being the most important U 235. For producing nuclear energy, there is a self-sustaining reaction, which occurs in a reactor, usually immersed in a cooling and moderating substance - water. Water is heated up and vaporized, powering up turbines which act on generators to produce electrical energy.
Nuclear reactors can be quite compact, being normally used for marine propulsion in submarines and warships and in space probes like those of Voyager and Pioneer.