Process which electricity is generated (Nuclear power)

In summary, a nuclear power plant generates electricity through a process that involves splitting atoms of enriched uranium, resulting in the release of thermal energy. This energy is then transferred to a cooler system through water and eventually converted into electrical energy through turbines and a generator. The advantages of nuclear energy include its efficiency and reduced reliance on fossil fuels, while its disadvantages include high decommission costs and dangerous waste. Two major energy transformations that occur in this process are thermal to mechanical and mechanical to electrical. Another advantage is the reliability of nuclear energy compared to renewable sources like wind and solar.
  • #1
Radic S
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Homework Statement





I picked a nuclear power plant. I spent a bit of time researching what the basic process is and that's what I've arrived at so far. I'm not certain if the answer is complete/decent, it seems like a very complex process which even for 'point form' could be a page of writing. I'm assuming that this isn't expected of me, looking for some feedback on my answers. Keep in mind it isn't expected that this answer is undergraduate + level details.

In point form, outline the process through which electricity is generated, highlight the energy transformations that occur. (5 marks)

state an advantage and a disadvantage for this type of electricity production that have no already been discussed in the lesson. (2 marks)

Homework Equations



n/a

The Attempt at a Solution



I. Electricity is generated in a nuclear reactor by atoms of enriched uranium being split apart.

II. The splitting of atoms results in a great amount of energy being released as thermal energy.

III. These uranium pellets are incased in rods which are surrounded by water which absorbs the heat to about 500 degrees fahrenheit. This is where energy is transferred from the system to another cooler system.

IV. The water does not turn into vapor because the pressure is controlled. In the pipes the water flows through a heat exchanger (steam generator) heating it up so any water around it begins to boil. This is where the energy once again is transferred to a cooler system which is water.

V. The steam is fed through pipes to a high pressure turbine and a low pressure turbine which are connected to an electrical generator that produces A/C energy from the shafts rotational energy.

The pros of using nuclear energy are that it’s very efficient, it generates the equivalent of 1000-1500 large wind turbines which requires a great deal less of land. It reduces our reliance on extracting fossil fuels. The cons of using nuclear energy is you run into large decommission costs at the end of a plants life. The waste from nuclear power plants is extremely dangerous and remains so for a long time. It requires a great deal of water to keep it cool which makes water pollution an unintended consequence.
 
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  • #2
Some comments...

Radic S said:
I. Electricity is generated in a nuclear reactor by atoms of enriched uranium being split apart.

II. The splitting of atoms results in a great amount of energy being released as thermal energy.

What is the energy transformation that occurs when the atom is split? eg Energy in the form of ?? is transformed into energy in the form of ??

III. These uranium pellets are incased in rods which are surrounded by water which absorbs the heat to about 500 degrees fahrenheit. This is where energy is transferred from the system to another cooler system.

IV. The water does not turn into vapor because the pressure is controlled. In the pipes the water flows through a heat exchanger (steam generator) heating it up so any water around it begins to boil. This is where the energy once again is transferred to a cooler system which is water.

V. The steam is fed through pipes to a high pressure turbine and a low pressure turbine which are connected to an electrical generator that produces A/C energy from the shafts rotational energy.

What energy transformations occur in step V? Hint: There are two.

The pros of using nuclear energy are that it’s very efficient, it generates the equivalent of 1000-1500 large wind turbines which requires a great deal less of land. It reduces our reliance on extracting fossil fuels. The cons of using nuclear energy is you run into large decommission costs at the end of a plants life. The waste from nuclear power plants is extremely dangerous and remains so for a long time. It requires a great deal of water to keep it cool which makes water pollution an unintended consequence.

In normal operation you would hope that there isn't much pollution from a nuclear plant. The water that circulates through the reactor is in a closed loop.

There are other advantages and disadvantages.
 
  • #3
I-II) I’m not sure? I know that heat is produced when an atom is split and neutrons. This is done by shooting neutrons at them? I don’t know what kind of stored energy atoms have that would result in the release of this heat.

V) Mechanical energy gets converted into electrical energy via an electrical energy generator.Makes sense, i'll cut that out. Personally the only con’s of nuclear energy I think are of concern to tax payers is the cost/plan of decommissioning them, not a big fast delays set in and costs soar.
 
  • #4
Look up binding energy or uranium fission binding energy, something like that.

The two energy transformations are thermal to mechanical and mechanical to electrical.

One significant advantage compared to renewable sources like wind and solar is reliability. The wind doesn't always blow etc
 

Related to Process which electricity is generated (Nuclear power)

1. How does nuclear power generate electricity?

Nuclear power plants use a process called nuclear fission to generate electricity. This involves splitting apart atoms of uranium, which creates heat. The heat is then used to create steam, which turns a turbine that generates electricity.

2. Is nuclear power safe?

When properly managed and regulated, nuclear power is considered safe. However, accidents can occur and the disposal of nuclear waste is a concern. Safety measures and regulations are in place to minimize risks and ensure the safe operation of nuclear power plants.

3. How do we dispose of nuclear waste?

Nuclear waste can be disposed of in a few different ways, including deep geological disposal, where it is buried deep underground in a secure facility. Other methods include reprocessing the waste to extract usable materials and storing it in above-ground facilities.

4. What are the benefits of nuclear power?

Nuclear power is a reliable source of energy and produces large amounts of electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. It also has a high energy density, meaning it requires less fuel to generate the same amount of energy compared to other sources.

5. What are the drawbacks of nuclear power?

One of the main drawbacks of nuclear power is the potential for accidents and the production of radioactive waste. Additionally, nuclear power plants are expensive to build and decommission, and there are concerns about the security and proliferation of nuclear materials.

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