Electricity is an energy resource which is necessary for country development and people lives. There are several ways to produce electricity already, such as wind generates, fossil fuel generates, and water generates. How to generate electricity more effectively with costs of less resources become more and more important. Being a new resource, using nuclear as energy supply to produce electricity is a significant way. In this whole process, nuclear reactions can release a huge amount of energy by nuclear fission. Also, it is good for sustainable development in the world. Because nuclear has high energy and efficiency, nuclear power stations were built by several developed countries in the past ten years. Therefore, using nuclear fission to generate more electricity has been approved around the world. The aim this of project is to explain the basic working principle of the nuclear power station.
Nuclear power stations can be regarded roughly as an energy transformation factory. By using nuclear fission nuclear energy is released to heat the water, this let it push the steam through turbine to produce alternating current. This is energy transformation process.
First nuclear energy transfers to the thermal energy than through the boil the water which transfers to the kinetic energy, finally from kinetic energy transfers to the electrical energy.
Nuclear power station can be divided into two parts which are the nuclear fission part and the steamer part, all process of energy transformation is located in these two parts. These two parts use several different turbines to connect each other. Figure 1 roughly shows the two parts of the nuclear power station. A large number of nuclear power stations in the world basically according to this working principle. This is the most comma way to produce electricity in the nuclear power station.
Figure 1 main parts of the nuclear power station
Nuclear fission (Nuclear energy transfer to the thermal energy)
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission refers to atoms in nucleus splitting into smaller parts (smaller mass thus smaller) when nuclear reaction occur. At that time, a huge amount of energy is released, it make smaller parts, which is split by original the atom continuously splits and this reaction is repeated several times. Figure 2 is a typical example for nuclear fission. (Original nucleus usually with high number of atoms)
The chemical equation can be written as 235U + n â†'236U â†'X+Y+(2-3)n
Also, nuclear fission reaction is a chain reaction which means it can react continuously and spontaneously. Usually people use U-235 as the original reactant, as the figure shown, after the energy supply, U-235 split to the two main parts(actually the nucleolus in the uranium is divided two parts) and release large amount of energy. After that, the two parts that just split is continuously split, at the high temperature, and it is reacted again and again. At this whole process, the huge amount of energy is provided. Theoretically, U-235 can splits to become the hydrogen atom which is the smallest atom, then become to stop, so it is difficult control well and before it become split, it usually need some energy to activate such as high pressure, high temperature or collision.
Figure 3 nuclear fission (atom splits from big to small)
This is the first energy transformation, which is nuclear energy transfer to the thermal energy and it is happened in the steel pressure vessel which usually can inherit high temperature and high pressure in figure 2. Because of the energy transferring, temperature in steel pressure vessel increases sharply.
Water steamed (thermal energy transfer to the kinetic energy then transfer to the mechanical energy)
Following the first step, after nuclear fission happen, a large amount of energy is released, that caused the temperature in steel pressure vessel is increased. When energy through the blue tube which connects the steel pressure vessel, it will be converted to the other part which is called steamed generator. Water liquid is obtained in the steamed generator at the origin. While high temperature through the steel pressure vessel, water liquid become water stem immediately. Then, water stem through the upper tube which is called steam line, it will push the steamer fast. That causes the thermal energy totally converted to the kinetic energy and mechanical energy
Electricity generated (kinetic energy transfer to the mechanical energy, and then become electric energy)
Following the third step, when steamer which is connected with a generator which can regard as a dynamo is rotated, the alternating current is produced at the same time. Electricity is passed through the wire to the citizenâ€™s house. This is also the final step which in the nuclear power station. That cause the electricity is transferred by kinetic and mechanical energy.
Cooling water (water recycling)
This step is not the main step which cause the energy convert, it only assist the steamer continuously rotated. However, it is also a necessary step. Water in steam generator is steamed to the water vapor to push the steamer rotating, and then the water steam is liquefied by tiny tube which is a cool blue tube, it though the blue tube come back to the steam generator to complete a full water recycle. This step cause steam generator has enough water to push the steamer turning, at the same time, no extra water needed, it achieves the whole reaction is placed in a hermetically environment.
Nuclear waste material dealing (environmental step)
This step is not the working principle part, but still one of the important steps in the nuclear power station after finishing produce the electricity. Nuclear waste material can be defined as the material after react and do not need to use any more and always with radiation, it is crucial to deal with this kind of waste material. That will directly influence the sustainable of the nuclear power station works and how quality of the nuclear power station works at the next time. This is because the nuclear waste has radiation, it may impact the next nuclear fission in the nuclear power station, and its own chain reaction is uncontrollable. In addition, nuclear radiation also will impact the vegetation developing and make creature get sick. Usually this waste material is categorized by its own feature. Then put it under the ground deeply. Dealing waste material correct or not directly influences the next nuclear power reaction.
In essence, nuclear power stations by using energy transformation to achieve from nuclear energy to the electricity. There are totally four main working steps in each nuclear power stations when they generate the electricity. Nuclear fission as the first main step, it plays an important role in the reaction, in this step, it provides the inexhaustible energy to heat the water. Then using this large amount of energy to heat the water to produce the kinetic energy, which is the crucial step which really produces the electricity. After finishing producing the electricity, dealing with the nuclear waste is the same important as the other main step, it also cannot be neglected. Overall, using this kind of way to substitute the original way to produce the electricity, not only the resources but also time are all saved.