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Operation of a nuclear power plant

Operation of a nuclear power plant

Nowadays, the main use given to nuclear energy is the generation of electric power. Nuclear power plants are responsible of doing this process. Almost all nuclear power plants in production are using nuclear fission since the nuclear fusion, despite being under development, is currently unfeasible.

The operation of a nuclear power plant is identical to the operation of a thermoelectric power plant operating with coal, oil or gas, except in the way of providing heat to the water for converting this one into steam. In nuclear reactors this process of producing heat is made by the fission reactions of the fuel atoms. 

90% of nuclear power reactors in the world, or in…

Last review: June 28, 2017

Boiling Water Reactor

Boiling Water Reactor

A boiling water reactor or BWR (the English boiling water reactor) is a type of nuclear reactor. It is the second most widely used type of reactor in nuclear power plants in the world. Approximately 22% of the nuclear reactors installed in the different nuclear power plants use the boiling water reactor.

The most important feature of the Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) is to use pressurized water as a moderator for neutrons and as a core refrigerant. Unlike the pressurized water reactor (PWR), there is no steam generator.

Operation of a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR)

The boiling water reactor uses a single light water cooling circuit (this is ordinary water, in nuclear power…

Last review: June 20, 2017

Pressurized Water Reactors

Pressurized Water Reactors

The pressurized water nuclear reactor is the type of nuclear reactor more used worldwide in the nuclear power plants of generation of electricity. At present, there are more than 230 nuclear reactors in the world made with the pressurized water system. Also known by its abbreviations PW. Its main feature is the use of water under high pressure in the primary circuit to prevent it from boiling.

Within the naval engineering the pressurized water nuclear reactor (PWR) is widely used. In fact, this model was originally designed to be used on a nuclear submarine.

Pressurized water reactors use enriched uranium as a nuclear fuel.

Operation of the pressurized water nuclear…

Last review: June 16, 2017

Current situation in Chernobyl

Current situation in Chernobyl

The recovery of the accident area and cleaning products has resulted in a large amount of radioactive waste and contaminated equipment, stored at about 800 different sites inside and outside the 30 km exclusion zone around the nuclear reactor 4 from Chernobyl.

These nuclear wastes are partially stored in containers or buried in trenches, which may lead to a risk of contamination of groundwater.

The sarcophagus and the proliferation of waste storage sites have been assessed as a source of hazardous radioactivity in nearby areas, and some NEA experts feared that the sinking of the failed reactor would cause serious damage to the only operating reactor Until 15 December 2000, the…

Last review: May 25, 2017

History of nuclear energy

History of nuclear energy

To explain the history of nuclear energy we could distinguish three major stages:

  • Physical and chemical scientific studies of the elements.
  • The development of the nuclear bomb during World War II.
  • Use of nuclear energy in the civil field.

Scientific studies cover this whole period since the first Greek philosophers began to define atoms, until the development of the first nuclear bomb. In this process, different scientists discover the presence of electrons, neutrons and protons and properties that make one atom more radioactive than another.

During World War II USA, animated by Albert Einstein, impels the first nuclear bomb. This will be…

Last review: May 17, 2017

What is nuclear energy

What is nuclear energy

Nuclear energy is the energy in the nucleus of an atom. Atoms are the smallest particles that can break a material. At the core of each atom there are two types of particles (neutrons and protons) that are held together. Nuclear energy is the energy that holds neutrons and protons.

Nuclear energy can be used to produce electricity. This energy can be obtained in two ways: nuclear fusion and nuclear fission. In nuclear fusion, energy is released when atoms are combined or fused together to form a larger atom. The sun produces energy like this. In nuclear fission, atoms are split into smaller atoms, releasing energy. Actually, nuclear power plants can only use nuclear fission to produce…

Last review: May 16, 2017

Nuclear weapons

Nuclear weapons

A weapon is an instrument used to attack or defend itself. Within the different types of weapons exist the nuclear weapons. A nuclear weapon is considered to be that weapon that uses nuclear energy.

If they distinguish two types of nuclear weapons depending on the function of nuclear energy:

  • Those who use nuclear energy directly to generate a big explosion, as would be the case with the atomic bomb.
  • Those who use nuclear energy as a source of energy for propulsion. For example nuclear submarine propulsion, aircraft carrier, etc.

Nuclear weapons are considered the most dangerous weapon designed so far in the world. Only one bomb can destroy entire…

Last review: May 12, 2017

Nuclear fuel definition

Nuclear fuel definition

The nuclear fuel is the material that has been adapted for use in nuclear power generation.

When it comes to nuclear fuel we can be talking about the same item or set that is made ready it can be used for containing the material itself, but also other elements.

The most widely used process involving the nuclear fission fuel.

There are different types of nuclear fuel, but the most common fuel is consisting of fissile elements such as uranium, generating chain reactions in nuclear reactors. The most common isotope in the fission is uranium-235.

Production processes nuclear fuel forms the set called the nuclear fuel cycle.

Another nuclear process is much less…

Last review: April 27, 2017

Uranium - nuclear fuel

Uranium - nuclear fuel

Uranium is the most commonly used nuclear fuel in nuclear fission reactions. It is a natural element that can be found in nature. However, in order to be able to use uranium in a nuclear reactor it must undergo some treatment.

 

To know the peculiarities that make uranium so different from the other substances we must first consider some basic nuclear physics.

 

Basic physical considerations An atom of a nucleus and of electrons that surround this nucleus. In turn, a nucleus consists of protons and neutrons. A proton has a positive charge. A neutron has no electric charge and is neutral.

 

The positive charges of the protons try to…

Last review: April 27, 2017

Nuclear fusion reactor - ITER Project

Nuclear fusion reactor - ITER Project

The experimental fusion reactor ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is a large-scale scientific experiment designed to test the feasibility of fusion as an energy source. Currently the ITER fusion reactor is under construction in the south of France, in Cadarache.

At the industry level, nuclear fusion does not exist yet. Since the 50s under investigation on the use of the energy generated in the nuclear fusion of light atoms into heavier. The development of nuclear fusion is considered very important because of the advantage offered by the large amount of energy released in the process and the abundance of deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen suitable for fusion.

Last review: April 25, 2017

Nuclear Power Plant - What is it?

Nuclear Power Plant - What is it?

A nuclear power plant is a facility for obtaining electrical energy using nuclear energy.

Its operation is similar to that of a thermal power plant or that of a solar thermal plant: from a source of energy thermodynamics is used to obtain heat, with the heat to get steam and with the steam to drive a turbine that will generate electricity.

The difference between the different types of electrical installations is in the energy source: a nuclear power plant uses the heat released in the nuclear fission reactions of certain atoms, in a thermal power station the heat source (thermal energy) comes from the combustion of one or more fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, fuel ...). Finally…

Last review: April 5, 2017