Nuclear reactor, fuel loading

Nuclear reactor, fuel loading

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Credit: PATRICK LANDMANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Nuclear reactor. Fuel rods being loaded into a nuclear power station's reactor core. The reactor itself is immersed beneath the water (blue), and lifting machinery is being used to raise and lower the fuel rods (centre) into the core (circular area). Uranium and plutonium fuel are used to produce a controlled nuclear fission reaction. This releases large amounts of energy from a small amount of fissionable material. There are 205 fuel rods used in this reactor core, and the addition of new rods to replace used ones is part of the process of controlling the reaction. This is the Chooz B1 nuclear power station in the Ardennes region of France. Brought online in May 2000, this pressurized water reactor generates 1500 megawatts of power. Photographed in 2004.

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