Nuclear power reactors

 

Nuclear power now supplies a significant amount of the world's energy needs.

 

The structure of a nuclear power plant in many aspects resembles that of a conventional thermal power station, since in both cases the heat produced in the boiler (or reactor) is transported by some coolant and used to generate steam. The steam then goes to the blades of a turbine and, by rotating it, the connected generator will produce electric energy.

 

The difference between a conventional and a nuclear power plant is how heat is produced. In a fossil plant, oil, gas, or coal is fired in the boiler, and the chemical energy in the fuel is converted into heat. A nuclear power plant, however, uses the energy that comes from a controlled nuclear chain reaction.

 

Nuclear power reactors have evolved over time through several 'generations':

 

  • Generation I (no longer in operation)
  • Generation II
  • Generation III and III+
  • Next generation IV reactors (currently in development).


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