Types OF nUCLEAR REACTORS By: Trent Michael & Matt Bellia

Pressurized Water Reactors

In a Pressurized Water Reactor, there is two circuits. The primary circuit has pressurized water that passes over the reactor core. This water is heated by the reactor core and flows through a container of water. This is where the secondary circuit begins. The heated water from the reactor core flows through the container of water, causing this water to boil, creating steam. This steam then flows through the turbines. The motion of these turbines creates energy which the generator sends out to the power grid as useable energy. The steam that passes through the turbines then go through a condenser, which turns the steam back into water. This water is then pumped back through the secondary circuit and gets used again in the cycle (Pressurized, 2015)

Conventional Nuclear Fission, Breeder Nuclear Fission, and Fusion

Conventional Fission is when one atom splits into two or more atoms. This splitting of an atom takes little energy, but releases a million times more energy than in a chemical reaction. Nuclear fission is not found anywhere in nature, unlike fusion, which is found in stars. Fusion is the joining of two or more atoms to form one larger atom. Fusion takes much more energy to perform than fission does, but fusion releases three to four times more energy than fission. As of now, fusion is only in the experimental stage of developing nuclear energy, whereas the fission process is currently found in nuclear power stations. The fission process uses Uranium as the fuel source, but fusion uses Hydrogen isotopes Tritium and Deuterium as a fuel source (Nuclear Fission and Fusion). Breeder nuclear fission uses the process of fission to create energy. When Uranium splits, it produces many smaller particles that other atoms can absorb. When these atoms absorb the smaller particles of the Uranium, they also undergo fission, continuing the chain of fission from atom to atom. When U238 absorbs a neutron, Pu239 is formed. Pu239 is better at continuing fission than U235. Some fast breeder reactors are able to produce 30% more fuel than they started with (How. 2017).

Safety of a Nuclear Power Plant in Our Area

The typical reactor is encased in 4 feet of steel reinforced concrete that has a steel liner on the outside. The reactor vessels themselves are 6 inches of pure steel. These structures are designed to withstand hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods. An independent study once tested and proved that the primary security structure of a nuclear power plant could withstand the impact of a Boeing 767 and still keep the radioactive fuel contained. Not too many things have the power and force of a direct airplane crash so I feel that physically a nuclear power plant is safe in our area. Another threat to a nuclear power plant is cyber attacks. All of a nuclear power plants computers are isolated from the internet. Also, every nuclear power plant has a guideline of what they will do in case of a cyber attack that they practice repeatedly. Also, backup generators are used in case of a loss of outside power into the plant. These generators have enough power to safely shut down the reactors harm done to the environment or the community (Issues. 2017).

Works Cited

Nuclear Power. 2015. Pressurized Water Reactor-PWR. Retrieved 3/19/17 from www.nuclearpower.net/pwr-pressurized-water-reactor/

Diffen. Nuclear Fission and Fusion. Retrieved 3/19/17 from www.diffen.com/difference/nuclear_fission_vs_nuclear_fusion

Scientific American. 2017. How Do Fast Breeder Reactors Differ from Regular Nuclear Power Plants. Retrieved 3/19/17 from www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-do-fast-breeder-react/

NEI. 2017. Issues and Policy. Retrieved 3/19/17 from www.nei.org/issues-policy/safety-and-security/plant-security


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