Discharging fuel from a reactor core.

Discharging fuel from a reactor core.

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Credit: ARTHUS BERTRAND/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Reactor defuelling. Discharging fuel from a reactor core to cooling ponds at a pressurised water reactor (PWR) nuclear power station. Nuclear fuel elements are highly radioactive after they have been in a reactor core and are still generating heat. The water cools the elements and helps to shield personnel from the radiation. The water also has boron ions dissolved in it to absorb neutrons; this prevents the fuel from going critical in the cooling ponds. During refuelling, old fuel is removed from the centre of the core before the fuel around the edge of the reactor is relocated inwards. New fuel is then put in the vacancies around the edge.

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Keywords: cooling pond, core, nuclear, nuclear reactor, pressurised water reactor, pwr, reactor, refuelling

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