PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nuclear reactor. Fuel rod being prepared for loading into a nuclear power station's reactor core. This process is carried out underneath water (blue) and using lifting machinery. This protects workers from the ionizing radiations produced by the fuel rod (lower centre) and the reactor core (not seen). The fuel rod is being moved from a storage area (background) to the reactor core. The rods contain uranium and plutonium fuel, used to produce a controlled nuclear fission reaction. This releases large amounts of energy from a small amount of fissionable material. 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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