- A nuclear reactor produces tremendous amount of energy through nuclear fission.
- The energy liberated from the fusion of nuclear fuel heats the surrounding water.
- As a result, steam is generated to drive turbines, which in turn drive the electrical generators.
- The main components of a nuclear reactor:
- Graphite moderator
Fast moving neutrons are slowed down by collisions with nuclei in the moderator so that they can cause further fissions. In some nuclear power plant, the moderator is water.
- Uranium rod (Fuel)
Fission reactions occur in the uranium rod to produce nuclear energy. The uranium used is often ‘enriched’ by increasing the proportion of the isotope uranium-235 above the natural value of 0.7% to 3%.
- Control rod
The rate of the fission reaction is controlled by inserting or withdrawing these rods. The nuclei in the rods absorb neutrons without undergoing any reaction. Sometimes the rod is made of cadmium.
To take away the heat from the nuclear reactor. Substances with high specific heat capacity such as ‘heavy’ water and carbon dioxide are used.
- Thick concrete wall
To prevent the escape of harmful radiations.
- Steam generator
Water in the generator is heated and changed into steam. The steam then drives the turbines.
To turn the dynamo in the electrical generator to produce electricity.