Nuclear Power Plant
Nuclear Fission

Nuclear energy

Nuclear energy

Nuclear energy is the energy obtained from the division (nuclear fission) or union (nuclear fusion) of an atom.

Despite the existence of large numbers of nuclear energy related (medicine, industry, transport, etc.) applications, the main application of this technology is the generation of electricity.

Nuclear power plants

Currently all nuclear power plants use nuclear fission to operate. Nuclear fusion is a technology that has many advantages but is not yet in a position for it to be used mainly for technical reasons.

Nuclear power plants are responsible for transforming the energy stored in the nucleus of atoms to convert it to electricity.

Operation of a nuclear power plant

The most important part is made in the nuclear reactor. In the nuclear reactor nuclear rods (usually uranium or plutonium) fuel are deposited and by projecting a neutron begins to generate a series of physical and chemical chain reactions that release a lot of heat energy.

The thermal energy generated in the nuclear reactor is used to heat water into steam at high pressure. The steam obtained will be responsible to operate a large turbine, which are connected to a dynamo will generate electricity.

Once this has generated electricity is passed through a transformer to adapt it to have the necessary to be supplied to the power grid conditions.

Nuclear fuel

The nuclear fuel used in nuclear power plants is uranium or plutonium.

Uranium is a mineral, not very abundant, which is extracted from Earth. It has a very unstable structure and is very easy to change its atomic structure. This property is ideal for use, since precisely the aim is to change its atomic structure. Even before use in a nuclear power plant is passed through a processing plant where nuclear fuel is enriched and becomes even more unstable.

The amount of energy obtained per gram of uranium is very high, but still, the Earth has limited uranium reserves that do not regenerate. For this reason, nuclear energy is considered a source of non-renewable energy.

The other material used is plutonium. Plutonium is not found in nature, it is a material obtained artificially. It is a waste of nuclear fission reactions with uranium.

Advantages and disadvantages of the use of nuclear energy

Advantage:

  • The large amount of energy obtained by very little fuel.
  • Not emit greenhouse gases to the outside
  • The weather conditions do not affect the production of electrical energy generated.

Drawbacks:

  • Although few accidents occur, accidents occurring are extremely dangerous to the environment and public health.
  • The fuel is limited.
  • Nuclear power plants are a potential target for attacks.
  • The management of nuclear waste generated is not very well resolved and takes millions of years to lose its radioactivity.
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Last review: May 25, 2016