QUICK REVISION ( ARTICLE:3, SCIENCE): TYPE OF NUCLEAR REACTORS
COMPONENTS OF NUCLEAR REACTOR:
Fuel: Usually pellets of uranium oxide (UO2) arranged in tubes to form fuel rods. The rods are arranged into fuel assemblies in the reactor core
- Moderator: This is material which slows down the neutrons released from fission so that they cause more fission. It is usually water, but may be heavy water or graphite.
- Control rods: These are made with neutron-absorbing material such as cadmium, hafnium or boron, and are inserted or withdrawn from the core to control the rate of reaction, or to halt it. (Secondary shutdown systems involve adding other neutron absorbers, usually as a fluid, to the system.)
- Coolant: A liquid or gas circulating through the core so as to transfer the heat from it. In light water reactors the moderator functions also as coolant.
- Pressure vessel or pressure tubes: Usually a robust steel vessel containing the reactor core and moderator/coolant, but it may be a series of tubes holding the fuel and conveying the coolant through the moderator.
- Steam generator: Part of the cooling system where the heat from the reactor is used to make steam for the turbine.
- Containment system: The structure around the reactor core which is designed to protect it from outside intrusion and to protect those outside from the effects of radiation in case of any malfunction inside. It is typically a metre-thick concrete and steel structure.
Most of the nuclear reactors work on the principle of nuclear fission. The energy released in the reaction is used to turn water into steam. The steam is used to run the turbine.
Diff types of nuclear reactor:
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