Virtual Field Trip: Nuclear Power Plant


Jane N. Shields


 Hi Again! You've just finished  the lesson on radiation and the nuclear  particles that are released from nuclides. Did you know that nuclear particles release usable energy?   This energy source comes uranium pellets that are inserted into rods that undergo fission when bombarded by a neutron starter. So, put  on your seat belt and open up your notepad (brain) to a trip that explains the intricate details of nuclear energy as source of energy (electricity).


What is Nuclear Power? Well, to get a better understanding click on this site what explains how nuclear is a viable, realistic means of producing heat that is transferred to water that turns a generator to produce electricity to millions of people.


Uranium    Now, that you know what nuclear is, lets discuss what is in the reactor vessel those fuels rods that have pellets. 


Nuclear Fission  

So, a  nuclear reactor has atoms that undergo fission. This reaction is continuous unless it is controlled.  To control the reaction, borate water is used to prevent overheating may come from lakes, rivers, and the ocean to remove the generated heat..   Another method of controlling the heat generated is manipulating the fuel rods in and out of the reactor.


Inside A Nuclear Power Plant

    Types of Reactors

Heat Exchangers As the reactor heats up the primary water, it moves into heat exchangers (steam generators)  that remove the heat.  This pressurized steam is referred to a the primary heat that spins a turbine to generate electricity.  The secondary steam is condensed and returns to a steam  generators.


Outside A Nuclear Power Plant

Now that you have seen what the inside of nuclear power plant looks like, check out this site for the outside.


What Bad things can happen at a nuclear power plant?

Well, on March 28, 1979, Three Mile Island had a mishap.  Lots of mistakes were made my operators which lead to a nuclear meltdown. Click on this site to learn more.

As a result of all the mistakes that caused the Three Mile Island accident.  Many people became anti-nuclear power activist. There fears were silenced for not quite a decade when the Worlds' worst accident occurred.


Do you have more questions about nuclear power?

This site will answer some of the frequently asked questions. For example, in 1993 there were 109 operable nuclear power plants. These power plants supply  20% of  the energy requirement of the United States. This does not included the large number of naval reactors.

Interested in a career in nuclear energy, link to this site.



Energy Quiz

Click on the site below to test you knowledge about energy.


Schedule  a fun "Power Trip".

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