A nuclear power plant is a thermal power plant that uses nuclear fuel to produce heat that converts water into steam. This steam is then used to run the turbines. This turbine is connected to an AC generator, which converts the mechanical energy of the turbine into electrical energy. He’s working on the Rankin cycle.

In nuclear power plants, the cost of the fuel used is very low in relation to the total cost, which is why they are used as base load stations. The base load is the minimum level of electricity demand in the grid over a given period, e.g. a week or a month. Power plants that do not change their output power quickly, such as large coal-fired or nuclear power plants, are generally used as baseload plants.

In a nuclear power plant, the reactor is used to produce energy from nuclear fuel. It’s an analog of a coal-fired central furnace. A nuclear reactor is a place where nuclear fission takes place and an enormous amount of energy is released.

Nuclear fuel

Nuclear fuel

Nuclear fuel is a material that can be used for the fission reaction in a nuclear reactor. During nuclear fission, the atom is split in two and a large amount of heat is generated.

Uranium (235) and plutonium (239) are two common fissile materials. Uranium is a heavy metal and occurs on earth in very large quantities. It contains two isotopes of uranium (238) and uranium (235). Isotopes are atoms of the same element with different amounts of neutrons.

Only uranium (235) can be used for the fission process, and this represents only 0.7% of the total amount of uranium available. The process of extraction, refining and use of nuclear fuel is called the fuel cycle.

Operation of nuclear reactors

A nuclear reactor essentially consists of three main components: the fuel rods, the control rods and the moderator. In a nuclear reaction, the fuel atom is bombed by a neutron. This process splits the atom in two and generates a lot of heat.

The purpose of the moderator is to hide the energetic neutrons produced during the fission of thermal neutrons. Part of the neutron energy is absorbed by the moderator. Only thermal neutrons can be used to continue the fission process. In general, water or heavy water is used as a retarder.

Control rods are used to absorb excess neutrons generated by the fission process. Otherwise the fission process becomes uncontrollable and the reactor melts.

TypeNuclear reactors

  1. Boiling water reactor (BWR)
  2. Pressurised water reactor (PWR)
  3. Pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR or CANDU)
  4. Gas-cooled reactor
  5. fast reactor
  6. Light water and graphite reactor

Boiling water reactor (BWR)

Boiling water reactor

The same water used to remove heat from the nuclear reactor is also used to power the turbine. When a turbine, pump, capacitor or other pipe leaks, radioactive water is a problem.

Pressurized water reactor

Pressurised water reactor

The water that carries the heat from the reactor transfers its heat to the turbine that drives the water through the heat exchanger. The water that carries the heat from the reactor is pressurised so that it does not turn into steam. This type of reactor uses uranium (235) with an enrichment of 3 to 4.5%.

Pressurized heavy water reactor

This type of reactor is the same as the pressurized water reactor, with the difference that it uses heavy water as moderator and coolant. This heavy water is a good moderator, just like ordinary water, but has a very low neutron absorption capacity. This means we have more thermal neutrons to continue the fission process. This finally gives us the freedom to use uranium (235) in its natural concentration, i.e. 0.7%.

The Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor is also called CANDU. CANDU stands for Canadian Deuterium Uranium.

Nuclear energy benefits

  • It produces less air pollution than a power station running on fossil fuels.
  • His fuel is abundant on Earth.
  • His fuel’s cheap.
  • Its fuel has a very high energy density

Nuclear energy shortages

  • Its waste is radioactive and dangerous to the environment and human life.
  • Any accident in a nuclear power plant can lead to disaster.
  • Investment and infrastructure costs are very high.

References :

Photo (nuclear fuel): https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fuel_Pellet.jpg#/media/File:Fuel_Pellet.jpg.

Image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/34/Kernkraftwerk_Grafenrheinfeld_-_2013.jpg/640px-Kernkraftwerk_Grafenrheinfeld_-_2013.jpg

Photo (cooking water reactor): https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/15/Boiling_water_reactor_english.svg/1024px-Boiling_water_reactor_english.svg.png.

Photo (pressurised water reactor): https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a0/PressurizedWaterReactor.gif.

Nuclear power plant: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_plant

Frequently used reactors: https://www.clpgroup.com/NuclearEnergy/Eng/power/power4_1_1.aspx.

Nuclear fuel: https://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Nuclear_fuel

Heavy water: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressurized_heavy-water_reactorbenefits of nuclear tech,why is nuclear energy so powerful,bad things about nuclear energy,where does hydropower come from,problems with nuclear energy,disadvantages of nuclear weapons,10 disadvantages of nuclear energy,use of nuclear energy,sciencing disadvantages of nuclear energy,what is a disadvantage of geothermal energy?,nuclear weapons advantages and disadvantages,how are we trying to fix nuclear power,social disadvantages of nuclear energy,does the world need nuclear energy,why do energy transitions take time,why is chernobyl still so famous today,impact of nuclear energy on environment,why is nuclear energy bad,nuclear energy 2020,are nuclear power plants good,nuclear fusion energy pros and cons,are nuclear power plants safe,disadvantages of uranium-235,nuclear energy disadvantages list,cost of nuclear power vs coal,advantages of nuclear energy class 10,effects of nuclear hazards on environment,what is one con of using nuclear energy?,solar pros and cons,disadvantage of a nuclear reactor,fission and fusion bbc bitesize,disadvantages of plutonium,disadvantages of nuclear energy in india,application of nuclear power plant,advantages of nuclear fission class 10,hazards of nuclear energy class 10,nuclear energy disadvantages,nuclear energy advantages and disadvantages pdf,advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power plant ppt,disadvantages of nuclear fuel,advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy essay,social benefits of nuclear energy