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10 facts about heavy water

So yesterday I was interviewed by the newspaper Dagbladet about heavy water (since they´ve made this new show about the Norwegian heavy water and how they bombed the factory during world war 2 - love the show, btw 😀 ), and I was thinking It´s really long since I´ve had a "10 facts" blogpost, and I think this is the perfect occasion! I therefore give you 10 facts about heavy water <3 <3 <3

  1. Heavy water is heavy - around 10% heavier than light water (as a nuclear physicist working with reactors I actually call normal water for light water :V)
  2. Heavy water is chemically called D2O, instead of H2O (normal/light water)
  3. The D in D2O is for deuteron
  4. A deuteron is a heavy version of hydrogen (an isotope of hydrogen), and it´s heavier because it has a neutron in its nucleus in addition to the proton (normal hydrogen has only that one proton in its nucleus) - thus a deuteron is twice as heavy as a hydrogen
  5. Heavy water can be used as a moderator (something that slows down the speed neutrons) in a nuclear reactor (this is what the Germans wanted it for during WW2)
  6. If you use heavy water in a reactor you can run it on natural uranium - you don´t have to enrich the uranium (like the Americans were doing in the Manhattan project)
  7. Heavy water doesn´t "eat" neutrons, like light water does - which is why we love <3 it
  8. Germany wanted to make plutonium - and it´s a really good idea to do this in a reactor with heavy water and natural uranium
  9. Norway doesn´t produce heavy water anymore, but we use it in our two research reactors, in Kjeller and Halden 😀
  10. India are researching reactors using heavy water and thorium - which is really cool!
This is a picture of me, wearing a kimono, writing about heavy water in my living room:

2 kommentarer til “10 facts about heavy water

  1. Sunniva

    I know heavy water is toxic, but not very.
    According to Wikipedia: "Poisoning would require that the victim ingest large amounts of heavy water without significant normal water intake for many days to produce any noticeable toxic effects."
    So there 😀


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