Nuclear Energy: The Shipping Port Nuclear Power Plant

1350 WordsJan 28, 20185 Pages
Nuclear Energy Extra-Credit Research Paper On May 26, 1958, President Eisenhower opened Shippingport nuclear power plant, the first commercial nuclear power plant in the United States. Since the introduction of commercial nuclear power through the Atoms for Peace program, nuclear power plants combined with coal-fired power plants now represent approximately 60% of the nation’s electricity supply. In nuclear power plants, the heat used to produce steam is created when uranium atoms split – called fission. Nuclear fission is either a nuclear reaction or a radioactive decay process in which the nucleus of a particle splits into smaller parts (lighter nuclei). The fission process often produces free neutrons and photons (in the form of gamma rays) and releases a very large amount of energy. The fission within a nuclear reactor begins with a neutron-emitting source and ends with all of the produced neutrons from the reaction being absorbed by the control rods. In both types of nuclear reactors found in the U.S., water is turned into steam, which then drives turbine generators to produce electricity. Pressurized Water Reactors keep water under pressure so that it heats, but does not boil. This heated water is circulated through tubes in steam generators, allowing the water in the steam generators to turn to steam, which then turns the turbine generator. In Boiling Water Reactors, the water heated by fission actually boils and turns into steam to turn the turbine generator.
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