Nuclear Energy and Power Plants

Michael Svoboda, Joey Soltis

How Nuclear Power Plants Work and The Different Types

In a nuclear power plant, water is turned into steam, and the steam drives big turbines and the turbines produce electricity. The process used to create the steam is much different at a nuclear power plant than a fossil fuel plant. At nuclear power plants heat to makes steam is created when uranium atoms split, this process is called fission. There is no combustion in a nuclear power plant. There are two different types of nuclear reactors in the U.S. Pressurized water reactors and boiling water reactor.

Pressurized water Reactors

Pressurized water reactors work by keeping water under pressure so that it heats but is does not boil. Then the heated water is circulated through tubes in steam generators. This allows the steam from the water to turn the steam turbines. The cooling water for the reactor and the water that creates steam are completely separate and do not mix.

Boiling water reactor

In boiling reactors water is heated by fission to the point of boiling and it turns into steam to turn the steam turbines. The steam can also be tuned back into water to then be re used.

Pressurized Water Reactor.

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Boiling Water Reactor

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How many power plants are in the U.S. today and how much power do the produce?

  • 60 nuclear power plants in the U.S. with 100 nuclear reactors total. Each power plant produces on average 11.8 billion kWh.

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What fuel is used in nuclear power plants ?

  • Uranium

How do we manage radioactive wastes ?

  • High level waste requires shielding and cooling low level waste can be handled without shielding or cooling, this can be anything from plastic containers to lead and concrete containers.

Where does it come from and where does it go ?

  • It is a waste from the process of fission from uranium, it will go into a radioactive safe container and be stored in a radioactive safe building.

U.S. and the use of nuclear power

Should the U.S. commit to using more nuclear power?

yes, It has lots of benefits and is more energy efficient.

How does nuclear power compared to other alternative power sources such as coal, wind, solar, or geothermal?

  • Nuclear power produces less waste.

  • Nuclear power is more energy efficient than other energy sources.

  • A nuclear power plant takes up less space such as a wind turbine field or solar field.

  • Cheaper fuel costs, uranium is fairly cheap to get.


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April 26, 1986

How many people were affected?

2 people died to the explosion and around 40,000 died do to the effects of radiation.

What were the long term effects?

It killed over 40,000 people due to radiation cancer over time and it made chernobyl into a ghost town.


It happened in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Which Ukraine was part of Russia at the time.

What was the cause of the accident?

it Was the result of a flawed reactor design that was operated by non professional people.. The resulting steam explosion and fires released at least 5% of the radioactive material into the atmosphere.

What would have prevented the accident?

Better reactor design, more regulations and rules, and better people to work on the site.

Fusion power, What is it and why do some people think it’s a better long-term energy source than current nuclear power plants?

Fusion is the process of combining two or more things together to form one. The nuclear power plants use the process of fission which is the process of splitting something into two. The problem with fission compared to fusion is that fusion creates more power than fission which is what nuclear power works toward getting the most energy possible.

What are the difficulties in creating a fusion reactor?

Fusion take way too long compared to fission, that's why most nuclear power plants use fission to create energy.

Nuclear reaction for leak

iodine-131, cesium-134 and cesium-137. Iodine-131 has a relatively short half-life of eight days

nuclear reaction for this type of fusion?

deuterium and tritium, to form helium and a neutron.


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"Javascript Required!" What Are Nuclear Wastes and How Are They Managed?N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

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