Credit: RHYS LEWIS, AHS, DECD, UNISA/EQUINOX GRAPHICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Animation of the inside of a nuclear power station, showing how it generates electricity. This is a pressurised water reactor, the most common type in operation. At the heat of the reactor is the core, which contains the nuclear fuel, uranium. This uranium has been enriched in the U-235 isotope. When a neutron (yellow) hits a U-235 nucleus, it undergoes fission (left inset), releasing three more neutrons. Initially these neutrons are very fast, reducing the chances that they'll fission another U-235 atom. However, the reactor core contains water under high pressure. Water acts as a neutron moderator (central inset), slowing it down and increasing its chances of fissioning another U-235 (right inset). This process continues in a chain reaction, producing a large amount of heat energy. To help control the rate of the reaction, control rods can be raised or lowered into the core. These contain boron-10 (inset), which has a high neutron absorption capability, reducing the number of neutrons available for fission. Outside the core, the hot water from the reactor (orange) is passed into a secondary water system in heat-exchanging pipes. This converts the cool water (blue) into steam (red), which drives a conventional electricity generating turbine, which sends power out to the grid. At times of low demand, or for maintenance, the rods can be inserted into the core more, to reduce or shut down the reaction.

Release details: Model release not required. Property release not required.

Keywords: animated, animation, boron-10, clean, control rod, controlling, core, cutaway, diagram, education, educational, electricity, energy, enriched, fast, fissile, fission, generating, generation, generator, grid, how it works, inside, interior, internal, isotope, moderating, moderator, neutron, nuclear, nuclei, nucleus, physics, power, pressurised water reactor, pressurized water reactor, pwr, pylon, renewable, rods, science, scientific, slow, station, technological, technology, u-235, uranium, vessel, working, workings

Licence fees: A licence fee will be charged for any media (low or high resolution) used in your project.

How a nuclear reactor works

K004/4959 Rights Managed

Downloadable master

Duration: 00:00:59.17

Frame size: 1920x1080

Frame rate: 25

Audio: No

Format: QuickTime, Photo JPEG 100%, progressive scan, square pixels

File size: 2.4G

Original

Capture format: QuickTime Animation

Codec: PNG

Please contact Science Photo Library if you require the original, or other formats.

 

Save watermarked comp

Request un-watermarked file

Price clip Pricing

Please login to use the price calculator