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Process which electricity is generated (Nuclear power)

  1. May 20, 2016 #1

    Radic S

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    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data



    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)

    2. Relevant equations

    n/a
    3. 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.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2016 #2

    CWatters

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    Some comments...

    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 ??

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

    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.
     
  4. May 20, 2016 #3

    Radic S

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    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.
     
  5. May 21, 2016 #4

    CWatters

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    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
     
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