DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sizewell B in Suffolk is the UK's only commercial pressurised water reactor (PWR) power station. PWRs constitute a majority of all western nuclear power plants and are one of two types of light water reactor (LWR), the other type being boiling water reactors (BWRs). In a PWR the primary coolant (water) is pumped under high pressure to the reactor core where it is heated by the energy generated by the fission of atoms. The heated water then flows to a steam generator where it transfers its thermal energy to a secondary system where steam is generated and flows to turbines which, in turn, spins an electric generator. In contrast to a boiling water reactor, pressure in the primary coolant loop prevents the water from boiling within the reactor. All LWRs use ordinary light water as both coolant and neutron moderator.
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