How a nuclear power plant makes electricity
Though commonly accepted as a means of generating power, nuclear energy is not something everyone will have a firm grasp on. You may not even have the slightest clue how they work! This is very common, so don’t worry! We all know how easy it is to nod off during a physics class and let’s be honest, nuclear power doesn’t really make for light reading! If you curious about nuclear energy and want to know more, we can help. This post will give you a quick and simple run down on how nuclear power works.
A nuclear reactor essentially controls the release of any produced energy after an atom has been split. Uranium is a radioactive element that, when it’s atoms are split, produces an incredible amount of energy. The splitting of the atom causes nuclear reactions and that is where the nuclear energy is released. There are several ways to create nuclear energy through nuclear fission, decay and fusion. There’s a link below where you can read more about these three methods if you are curious. Most power stations generate nuclear energy through fission, with uranium and plutonium.
Using this element as a source of fuel is a much cleaner and effective way to boil water. The boiled water produces steam, this steam then turns a turbine driving a generator that produces electricity. So, it does not differ too drastically from most methods of generating electricity, simply replace coal with uranium and the rest is, in essence, the same. The science behind both the station and the splitting of the atom is of course much more complex. Though simplified this is the accepted interpretation of how a nuclear station works.