Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Nuclear power is generated using Uranium, which is a metal mined in various parts of the world.
The first large-scale nuclear power station opened at Calder Hall in Cumbria, England, in 1956. Some military ships and submarines have nuclear power plants for engines. Nuclear power produces around 11% of the world's energy needs, and produces huge amounts of energy from small amounts of fuel, without the pollution that you'd get from burning fossil fuels. Nuclear power stations work in pretty much the same way as fossil fuel-burning stations, except that a "chain reaction" inside a nuclear reactor makes the heat instead. The reactor uses Uranium rods as fuel, and the heat is generated by nuclear fission: neutrons smash into the nucleus of the uranium atoms, which split roughly in half and release energy in the form of heat.
Carbon dioxide gas or water is pumped through the reactor to take the heat away, this then heats water to make steam. The steam drives turbines which drive generators. Modern nuclear power stations use the same type of turbines and generators as conventional power stations.
In Britain, nuclear power stations are often built on the coast, and use sea water for cooling the steam ready to be pumped round again. This means that they don't have the huge "cooling towers" seen at other power stations.
The reactor is controlled with "control rods", made of boron, which absorb neutrons. When the rods are lowered into the reactor, they absorb more neutrons and the fission process slows down. To generate more power, the rods are raised and more neutrons can crash into uranium atoms. 

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