Cooling Systems in Nuclear Reactors Essay

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Cooling Systems in Nuclear Reactors
Introduction
Nuclear power plants make up 15% of the world’s electricity production. The US produces the most nuclear power, with France and Japan following second and third. Nuclear reactors are used in nuclear power plants to produce heat that will create steam to produce energy. Nuclear power plants convert thermal energy released from nuclear fission. The core of a nuclear reactor builds up heat and this heat needs to be controlled and filtered out somewhere. The reactor needs to remain cool—usually by water but is sometimes cooled by a gas or a liquid metal.
Cooling Systems
The basic fuel for a nuclear power plant is uranium. The reactor core is what contains the radioactive material in a
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The control rods are used to control the rate of fission of uranium and plutonium. Control rods are removed and inserted into the reactor core to increase or decrease the number of neutrons which will continue to split uranium atoms. These changes will affect the reactor’s thermal power, the amount of steam produced, and ultimately the electricity generated.
Nuclear Reactor Cooling Systems and Climate Change
Researchers in the US and Europe and also published in the journal Nature Climate Change, said that, “the impact on power output will vary depending on the type of cooling system the plant uses and the future climate scenario, and estimates at least a 4.4% decline in energy output.” Rising temperatures could impact the nuclear power plants’ cooling systems which would make them less effective in cooling the reactors’ temperature and making it difficult for the water to return to a state-regulated temperature before returning back to its source. Some plants are located near natural water sources and if the water source gets too warm, the water environment and the power plants capability to generate electricity could suffer—operating below capacity.
Researchers are looking to the next five to fifteen years at developing a “new breed” of power plants that will address climate change by using helium instead of water as the cooling

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