What is nuclear energy? Nuclear power is generated by creating a sustained environment for nuclear fission which produces electricity and heat. Passionate debate is still ongoing between different the supporters of nuclear power and those who oppose it. It is theorized to be a sustainable source of energy which has the ability to limit carbon emissions from fossil fuels. However deadly environmental and human side effects are the result of improper supervision of power plants. The first use of nuclear energy to generate electricity was in 1951.
What is nuclear fission? Fission is the product of physicists and chemists in one of the largest military weapons technology research programs the world has seen. Fission is the combination of a nuclear reaction and radioactive decay in a process where the nucleus of an atom is split releasing protons and neutrons in a large burst of energy. Radioactive waste is the side effect of nuclear fission which currently is placed in containment systems to avoid radioactive waste from reaching the environment.
How does nuclear energy work?
Nuclear power plants use the heat created by fission in reactors to operate a thermal power station. Heat from reactors convert water into steam which spins turbines to generate electricity. The steam is then condensed back into water in a cooling tank before being recycled back into the thermal system.
Nuclear Power Plants
Currently nuclear power plants make up for approximately 19% of the energy produced in the United States. In the European Union it makes up for 30% of the total energy production with France being the largest producer in Europe. French nuclear energy makes up for approximately 80% of the electricity consumed by the country. 439 nuclear power plants are in operation worldwide as of the beginning of 2012.
The reactor is where all the magic happens in the power plant. This area controls a nuclear chain reaction which provides sustained fission to power the plant. Water is boiled in the reactor which evaporates water into steam to flow into the steam turbine.
The steam turbine is the system that captures steam coming from the evaporating water around the reactor area which spines turbines to create kinetic energy in the generator. The turbine is connected to the generator by an axel like rod which is used to create electricity.
The generator is a device which converts kinetic energy into electricity by cultivating the movement of the steam turbine.
Steam flows into the cooling system where its condensed back into water from the turbine system. In some plants additional turbines may be used in the cooling system process to produce additional power.
Pumping systems are responsible for recycling water back into the system or moving it into other areas of the plant for decontamination or as a boiling agent in the reactor core.