How does a nuclear power plant work?
The main use currently given nuclear energy is the electric power generation. Nuclear power plants are responsible for this process. Virtually all nuclear power plants in production are using nuclear fission. Nuclear fusion is not currently feasible despite being under development.
The operation of a nuclear plant is identical to the operation of a thermal power station operating with coal, oil or gas except in the way of providing heat to the water to convert to steam. In the case of nuclear reactors heat is produced by the fission reactions of the fuel atoms.
Globally, the 90% power reactors, that is, reactors for the production of electrical energy are light water reactors (versions pressurized water or boiling water). So we are going to explain more fully the operation of this type of reactor.
Operation of a nuclear power plant
The basic principle of operation of a nuc
The basic principle of operation of a nuclear power plant is based on obtaining heat energy through the nuclear fission of the cores atoms from the fuel. With this heat energy, which it has steam, it will convert into mechanical energy in a turbine, and finally it converts mechanical energy into electrical energy by a generator.
The nuclear reactor is responsible for rising and handling this atomic fission that generates a lot of heat. With this heat the reactor converts water to steam at high temperature and pressure.
The steam exits the containment building due to high pressing is subjected to reach and rotate the turbine. At this moment part of the heat energy of the steam is transformed into kinetic energy. This turbine is connected to an electric generator whereby the kinetic energy is transformed into electric energy.
On the other hand, the water steam that went out of the turbine, though it has lost calorific energy, continues being in gas state and very warmly. To re-use water contained in the mentioned water steam, it is necessary to refrigerate it before returning to introduce the water in the circuit. For it, once gone out the turbine, the steam goes to a bank or deposit of condensation where it cools by being in contact with pipelines of cold water. The water steam becomes liquid and using a pump it is forwarded again to the nuclear reactor to return to repeat cycle.
That is why nuclear plants are always installed near an abundant supply of cold water (sea, river, lake) to take this water condensation in the tank. The column of white smoke can be seen emerging from some plants is the steam raised when this heat exchange.
Last review: August 27, 2014