Understanding Nuclear Power Plant 7 Parts, Benefits & Drawbacks [PDF]

In this article, we shall discuss the definition, working, layout, advantages, and disadvantages of Nuclear Power plants. We have also provided a PDF for the same. A Nuclear Power Plant is a Thermal Power station in which the heat source is Nuclear Reactor.

Nuclear Power Plant

Nuclear Power Plant Definition

A nuclear power plant is a facility that converts atomic energy into usable power. The heat produced by a reactor is generally used to drive a turbine which in turn drives an electric generator.

Nuclear Power Plant Introduction

Cheap and abundant power is essential to the modern world in the coming years. The repeated increase in industry and living standard of the people creates pressure on conventional sources of power, therefore, Coal Oil, and Gas. These sources will soon be unable to meet the increasing demand of the world. The adoption of nuclear energy for the generation of power is Inevitable in the nation where other sources of generation are inadequate. 

Nuclear Power Plant

One of the outstanding facts about nuclear power is the largest amount of energy that can be released from a small mass of active materials. The complete fission of 1 kg of Uranium contains the energy equivalent to 3100 tons of coal or 1700 tons of oil. Nuclear power is not only available in evidence but it is cheaper than the power generated by conventional sources. As of 2013 in India, there are 6 nuclear power plants available with 20 Nuclear reactors generating 4800-megawatt power. India has planned to increase nuclear power generation by more than 30%of present generations by 2050.

Nuclear Plant Working Operations

Nuclear power Plant working
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  • A nuclear power plant is a type of power station that generates electricity using heat from nuclear reactions. 
  • These reactions take place within a reactor. 
  • The plant also has machines that remove heat from the reactor to operate a steam turbine and generator to make electricity. 
  • The electricity made by nuclear power plants is also called nuclear power.
  • Nuclear power plants are usually near water to remove the heat the reactor makes. 
  • Some nuclear power plants use cooling towers to do this. 
  • Nuclear power plants use uranium as fuel. 
  • When the reactor is on, uranium atoms inside the reactor split into two smaller atoms. 
  • When uranium atoms split, they give off a large amount of heat. This splitting of atoms is called fission.
  • The most popular atoms to fission are uranium and plutonium. 
  • Those atoms are slightly radioactive. The atoms produced when fuel atoms break apart are strongly radioactive. 
  • Today, fission only happens in nuclear reactors. 
  • In nuclear reactors, fission only happens when the reactor’s parts are arranged properly. 
  • Nuclear power plants turn their reactors off when replacing old nuclear fuel with new fuel.

Nuclear Power Plants in World

There are about four hundred nuclear power plants in the world, with many in the United States, France, and Japan. An Anti-nuclear movement in Australia opposes the making of any nuclear power plants in the country. Some famous accidents at nuclear power plants are as follows

  • 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, 
  • 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, and 
  • 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States. 
Video By RadioFreeEurope

In simple words, the Nuclear Reaction is like Splitting the main atoms which release Kinetic energy and are Further used for Power Generation

Nuclear Power Plant Layout

The figure shown is the general layout of the Nuclear Power plant

Nuclear Power Plant Layout
Photo By Encyclopedia Britannica

In simple terms, a nuclear power plant generates electricity by using uranium atoms to produce heat in a concrete shield. This heat is then transferred to water, which turns into steam, and the steam is directed to a turbine that spins blades in a generator to produce electricity. Any leftover steam that isn’t used is cooled down in a condenser before being sent back to the heat exchanger to repeat the process. This ensures a steady and reliable source of energy for communities that use nuclear power plants.

Nuclear Power Plant Main Parts or Component

The Nuclear Power Plant consists of 7 Main Parts which are as follows

  • Nuclear Reactor
  • Coolant circulating pump
  • Heat Exchanger
  • Feed pump
  • Condenser
  • Turbine
  • Generator
Video By Elearnin

Nuclear Reactor

Nuclear reactors are used at nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity and in nuclear marine propulsion. The Heat generated from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid which is (water or gas), which in turn runs through steam turbines. These either drive a ship’s propellers or turn electrical generators’ shafts. Nuclear-generated steam can be used for industrial process heat and some reactors are used to produce isotopes for medical and industrial use or the production of weapons-grade plutonium.

Coolant Circulating pump

Coolant circulating pump circulates the water which is further going to be heated and used for turbine blade rotating.

Heat Exchanger

The name itself indicates the Heat exchanger which works to exchange heat from lower to higher.

Feed pump

Send the water from the condenser to the heat exchanger and from there by the use of a circulating pump it sends to the concrete shield system.

Condenser

The condenser is the component that is used for extracting the heat from the working fluid or simple you can say it cools the working fluid because it is having a low temperature.

Turbine

The turbine is a device that is used for power generation. Here The fluid strikes to turbine blade which is further converted Kinetic energy into mechanical energy and the generator converts that mechanical energy into electrical energy.

Generator

The generator is further used for converting into Electrical energy and the output we got is Power. 

Nuclear Power Plant Diagram

Nuclear Power Plant
Photo By Dreamstime

The working of a Nuclear Plant:  Nuclear Plant consists of the Nuclear Reactor, Coolant circulating pump, Heat Exchanger, Feed Pump, Condenser, Turbine, and Generator. The Heat is generated in a reactor by the fission reaction. The coolant in the primary circuit gets heated by observing the heat and enters the Heat Exchanger. 

Here, In the Heat Exchanger, the feed water is heated and converted into steam by the hot coolant using heat transfer. The steam from the Heat Exchanger will enter the turbine to rotate the turbine blades and generates power. 

The steam after doing the work enters the condenser and is converted into water which is pumped again to the Heat Exchanger by the feed pump. The hot coolant gets cold in the Heat Exchanger and is recirculated into the reactor by the coolant circulating pump. The cycle is repeated continuously for the generation of power.

Nuclear Power Plant Pipe System

Nuclear Power Plant Advantages

  • Nuclear Power Plant requires less space as compared to other Power plants. 
  • Well suited for large demands.
  • It gives better performance at high load factor 80 to 90%.
  • Less fuel consumption and no fuel handling.
  • The transportation cost of fuel is very less.
  • Increased reliability of operation.
  • Power plants not affected by adverse weather conditions.
  • Water required is less.
  • The high capacity of the plant can be installed.
  • Compact and simple in maintenance.
Nuclear power plant

Nuclear Power Plant Disadvantages

  • Nuclear Power Plant has a High initial cost.
  • The danger of radioactivity hazards is always persisting.
  • Not suitable for varying load conditions.
  • The disposal of fission products is a big problem.
  • The maintenance cost is always higher.
  • Working condition is always detrimental to the health of the workers.

Nuclear Power Plant Application

  • The nuclear Power plant for generating a good amount of electricity-
  • Nuclear energy now provides about 11% of the world’s electricity from about 450 power reactors.
  • The main use of nuclear energy is the production of electric energy. Nuclear power plants are responsible for generating electricity. 
  • The energy Thermal is obtained which will be transformed into mechanical energy and then later into electrical energy. 
Nuclear power plant 3D
Photo By Dreamstime

Nuclear Power Plant In India Location

Having more than 10 Nuclear Power Plant exists in India some of which are listed below as follows

Nuclear Power Plant In India
Photo By India Map
LocationOperator
TarapurNuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)- Maharashtra
RawatbhataNuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Rajasthan
KudankulamNuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Tamil Nadu
KaigaNuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Karnataka
KakraparNuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Gujarat
KalpakkamNuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Tamil Nadu
NaroraNuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Uttar Pradesh

The Economics of Nuclear Energy

Video By RealEngineering

Conclusion

In conclusion, nuclear power plants have both advantages and disadvantages. While they offer a reliable and efficient source of energy, they also pose potential risks to human health and the environment. It is essential to carefully consider these pros and cons before deciding whether or not to invest in nuclear energy. Overall, the use of nuclear power should be balanced with the need for safety and environmental responsibility.

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