Working of Nuclear Power Plant with diagram

Nuclear Power:

Nuclear power is the most important type of energy which may be described as the energy trapped inside each and every atom. Matter can be transformed into energy. According to Albert Einstein, E = mc2 where c is the velocity of the light.

Nuclear Fission:

When an atom’s nucleus is split apart, a tremendous amount of energy is released in form of heat and light energy. This energy, when leased out in a controlled manner, can be used to generate electricity. When it is leased out all at once, it makes a tremendous explosion like that of an atomic bomb.

Working Principle of Nuclear Power Plant:

A nuclear power plant generally uses uranium as a fuel. Nuclear power is produced by the process of controlled nuclear fission. The word ‘fission‘ means to split apart. In the majority of cases, nuclear fission reactions are used to heat water, the steam is further used to produce electricity. Uranium-235 and Plutonium-239 can be easily fissioned. 95% of naturally occurring Uranium is U-238. Thorium is much more abundant. It has better physical and nuclear fuel properties and produces much less nuclear waste, hence a thorium fuel cycle is potentially more advantageous. It involves high production and processing costs and lacks weaponization potential.

Uranium-233 can be transmuted from Thorium-232 and used as a fuel. The liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) is on its way to countries like India, the US, Israel, China, Norway, and Russia. The largest uranium deposits are in Australia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Russia, Namibia, Niger, USA are also important in terms of reserves. The primary uranium ore is uraninite or pitchblende.

A nuclear reactor is a device designed to control a chain of fission reactions that produces a stream of neutrons. Uranium is dug out of the ground, organized into small pellets, stacked into long rods, and positioned in the reactor of the power plants. Uranium atoms are bombarded. With the onset of the chain reaction, the atoms split and release the particles. These particles then go out and bombard another atom of uranium breaking them in turn. Control rods or efficient neutron captures are also in the core to keep the fission regulated. Silver-indium-cadmium alloy is a commonly used control rod in PWR. A moderator is another component to impede the high-speed neutrons. Commonly used moderators can be light water, solid graphite, heavy water, etc. The heat generated in this reaction is transferred to a liquid known as coolant.

Such a chain reaction releases enormous heat that is used to heat up the water in the reactor core. So, instead of combusting fuel, nuclear power plants practice the sequence reaction of atoms breaking to alter the energy of atoms into thermal energy. This water from the nuclear core is directed to another sector of the power plant. Here, in the heat exchanger, it heats an extra set of water-filled tubing to turn it into steam. The vapor in this second set of piping rotates a turbine to produce electrical energy.