Friday, February 7, 2020

How electricity is produced in nuclear power station Essay

How electricity is produced in nuclear power station - Essay Example A nuclear plant produces heat exactly in the same way as a thermal power plant does by converting the heat generated from the process into steam which is used to swing the blades of the turbine. But we know that the thermal power plant uses oil or coal to generate steam in order to produce electricity. However, the process in nuclear plant is much different since it does not consume fossil fuel to generate heat but rather it works through the process of nuclear fission. A nuclear power plant harnesses the power of atoms to create energy. As we know that the core of the atom is made up of particles called neutrons and protons. The process is initiated when an element such as Uranium is placed at the core of reactors in the rods and free neutrons are released into the core of the reactor. When a free neutron strikes with Uranium nucleus it starts splitting into smaller atoms which trigger the process of fission. When the process of fission sets off on the way, it splits the heavy atoms into multiple atoms by absorption of a neutron. Often in the case of Uranium Nucleus, when the neutron strikes it might split into two smaller nuclei of unequal fragments. During this process, a large amount of energy is exuded and simultaneously some neutrons are also emitted. As a result of this, neutrons start straying and are absorbed by nuclei of other atoms thus creating a chain reaction. The process is depicted in figure 1. Figure 1: Fission process Nuclear energy stems from the nuclear plants called reactor available in different forms such as Pressurized Water Reactor, Boiler Water Reactor etc. A nuclear reactor is made up of some major components; a moderator, fuel rods, control rods and the coolant. The turbine and the heat exchanger lie outside of the nuclear plant. The fuel rods generally have a diameter of 1 cm and they are approximately 11.5 feet long. These rods are assembled into large groups and they are placed at the core of the nuclear reactor and this is the pl ace where Uranium is kept. Control rods as the name suggests is used for controlling the chain reaction as they have a tendency to absorb neutrons. These control rods are connected to machines that can pull or push them to the core of the reactor. When they are fully lowered into the core, it halts the flow of fission process because they absorb all the free neutrons. Similarly, if these control rods are pulled, fission process can again stimulate as a neutron strikes the Uranium giving rise to more neutrons thus again triggering a chain reaction. The moderator also lies at the heart of the reactor and it functions to slow down the speedy neutrons which are flying all around the reactor. Neutrons which are bursting with unflagging energy travel at a lightning speed and they are able to pierce the nucleus of Uranium. Since the chain reaction increases at a blistering pace therefore there is a need to slow down the momentum of the process which can be done by the use of moderators. Th e moderator slows down and moderates the level of speed such that the neutron can be captured by the nucleus of the element in use which can trigger the process of fission. Heavy water is amongst the most common type of moderator although there are other options available too. Heavy water is different from the normal water H2O as it is made up of deuterium which

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