System Analysis of a Nuclear Power Plant
Here is a basic step-by-step description of the processing of a nuclear power plant.
- Intense heat is generated by nuclear fission.
- Carbon dioxide gas is injected into the fission zone.
- Hot gas converts water into superheated steam.
- Steam drives the turbines.
- Turbines drive the electrical generators.
- Electricity is connected to supply grid.
The output is free from carbon dioxide and smoke. It produces large amounts of energy from a small quantity of nuclear fuel. A small amount of nuclear waste, which is dangerous, is generated . The discarded waste must be carefully sealed and buried deep in the earth to allow slow decay to reduce radioactivity. The decay process takes many years.
Nuclear Meltdown is an informal designation. Nuclear meltdown causes severe nuclear reactor problems due to overheating of the reactor. This happens when a fission reaction exceeds its limits, and the uranium fuel rods begin to liquefy. The reactor becomes overheated beyond its safety limit. Water cooling of the reactor is auto-controlled. The reactor will leak when the cooling system fails, and it can explode if immediate corrective action is not taken. Shut down action should immediately follow.
Overheating of the reactor increases superheated steam pressure, causing the steel body to develop a crack. A tremendous nuclear explosion is the end result. Failure of the water cooling system is the prime reason for this dangerous hazard.
The Chernobyl plant in the USSR had several such nuclear meltdowns. The shutdown system was of improper design. A major explosion caused many deaths and inflicted cancer in many people who died later. There was a flaw in the reactor plant: it was not contained within a massive building to minimize explosion intensity. (Please see attached photo of a German nuclear plant below.) The reactor system is protected within strong, high, massive buildings.
Major disasters happen if reliable and guaranteed safety precautions and norms are not adhered to. Maintaining and enforcing the stringent safety norms costs lots of money.