Nuclear Reactors An Introduction. Overview. Nuclear Physics Neutrons, Fission and Criticality Reactor Components Fuel, Moderator and Coolant Types of Nuclear Reactors Generation III and Generation IV Reactors Advantages and Disadvantages of Nuclear Power. The Root of It All: The Atom.
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*e is the elementary charge, and it is about 1.602 x 10^-19 Coulomb.
(number of protons)
Isotopes of Hydrogen
Chart of Nuclides
Notice the trend’s digression from the line Z=N, why is this?
So back to that trend:
The maximum point on the graph occurs around atomic number 56, iron. Thus, iron is the most stable element. Ideally, everything is trying to become iron.
These curves show the amount of neutrons present in the three situations. This correlates to the rate of the reaction
American Reactors are Light Water Reactors (LWRs)
Coolant: Light Water
Moderator: Light Water
What is “light water”?
Regular, everyday water
Inexpensive, easy to obtain
Is there such thing as “heavy water”?
Heavy Water: the H atoms in water have an extra neutron
Much more expensive
Two Types of LWRs:
Less components, simpler system
Fission products contained in reactor vessel
Containment needed for entire coolant loop
Complex cycle, pressure vessel needed
CANDU = Canadian Deuterium-Uranium
Primary Reactor Type used in Canada
Moderator: Heavy Water
Coolant: Heavy Water
Fuel: Natural Uranium
A generation III reactor design is a enhancement of any of the generation II reactor design incorporating improvements such as improved fuel technology and passive safety systems.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission expects applications for about 24 new plant licenses in the next couple of years
These reactors will be Generation III designs
Net Output: 1350 MW electrical energy
Four ABWR’s are operational in Japan
Generation III- Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR)
1. Vessel Flange and Closure Head
2. Vent and Head Spray
3. Steam Outlet Flow Restrictor
4. RPV Stabilizer
5. Feedwater Nozzle
6. Forged Shell Rings
7. Vessel Support Skirt
8. Vessel Bottom Head
9. RIP Penetrations
10. Thermal Insulation
11. Core Shroud
12. Core Plate
13. Top Guide
14. Fuel Supports
15. Control Rod Drive Housings
16. Control Rod Guide Tubes
17. In Core Housing
18. In-Core Instrument Guide Tubes
20. High Pressure Core Flooder
21. HPCF Coupling
22. Low Pressure Flooder (LPFL)
23. Shutdown Cooling Outlet
24. Steam Separators
25. Steam Dryer
26. Reactor Internal Pumps (RIP)
27. RIP Motor Casing
28. Core and RIP Differential
29. Fine Motion Control Rod Drives
30. Fuel Assemblies
31. Control Rods
32. Local Power Range Monitor
Net Output: 1600 MW electrical energy
Two units are under construction in Finland and France
Generation III- Evolutionary Pressurized Reactor (EPR)
Provide up to 70MW electrical or 300MW heat energy that would satisfy a population of 200,000 people
Can be modified as a desalination plant producing 240,000 cubic meters of fresh water
Generation III- Russian Floating Nuclear Power Station
utilizes a graphite-moderated Helium cooled core
outlet temperature of 1,000 °C.
high temperatures enables hydrogen production and allows for high thermal efficiency
Generation IV: Very-High-Temperature Reactor (VHTR)
the coolant is a molten salt (why?)
nuclear fuel is dissolved in the molten fluoride salt as uranium tetrafluoride (UF4),
the fluid would reach criticality by flowing into a graphite core which serves as the moderator
Generation IV: Molten Salt Reactor (MSR)
increase the efficiency of uranium usage by breeding plutonium
uses an unmoderated core running on fast neutrons
Burns both Uranium and Plutonium as fuel
Generation IV: Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor (SFR)
How does Nuclear Compare to other forms of Electricity Production?
Coal, natural gas and oil power facilities all release harmful pollutants, excess heat and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The only emission of a nuclear power station is heat and water vapor. Its ‘carbon footprint’ is negligible.
Since nuclear power plants are capable of delivering a very consistent amount of electricity, and only have to be refueled periodically, they are relied upon by electric utilities to provide the ‘base load’ of power generation
Expensive start up costs
Nuclear Energy Information Service
Energy Information Administration
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Los Alamos National Lab