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Chapter: Mechanical Engineering : Power Plant Engineering

Nuclear power plant

1 Components Of Nuclear Power Plant 2 Working Principle Of Nuclear Power Plant





         Nuclear power plant uses nuclear energy from radioactive element for generating electrical energy.


           More than 15% of the world’s electricity i


           It is generally located far away from populated areas.


         In future generation of electricity will be depending on Nuclear Power Plant, as it is economical.


1 kg of uranium U -235 can produce electrical power electrical that can be


produced by using 3000 -4500 tonnes of high grade coal or 2000 tonnes of oil.





Nuclear Fuel :

Normally used nuclear fuel is uranium (U235)


Fuel Rods:

The fuel rods hold nuclear fuel in a nuclear power plant.


Neutron Source: A source of neutron is required to initiate the fission for the first time. A mixture of beryllium with plutonium is commonly used as a source of neutron.




         Nuclear fission takes place in the reactor only.


         Nuclear fission produces large quantity of heat.


         The heat generated in the reactor is carried by coolant circulated through the reactor.


Control Rods:


         They are used to control the chain reaction.


         They are absorbers of neutrons.


         The commonly used control rods are made up of cadmium or boron.




           Moderators are used to slow down the fast neutrons.


           It reduces 2 MeV to an average velocity of 0.025 eV.


           Ordinary or heavy water are used as moderators.


Fuel Rods:


         The fuel rods hold nuclear fuel in a nuclear power plant.


Neutron Reflectors:


           To prevent the leakage of neutrons to large extent.


           In PHWR, the moderator itself acts as reflectors.




To protect from harmful radiations the reactor is surrounded b a concrete wall of thickness about 2 to 2.5 m.




         It is a process of splittin g up of nucleus of fissionable material like uranium into two or more fragments with release of enormous amount of energy.


         The nucleus of U235 is bombarded with high energy neutrons

U235+0n1               Ba 141+Kr92+2.50n1+200 MeV energy.


         The neutrons produced are very fast and can be made to fission other nuclei of U235, thus setting up a chain reactio n.


           Out of 2.5 neutrons relea sed one neutron is used to sustain the chain rea ction.


1 eV = 1.6X10-19 joule.

1 MeV = 106 eV





         The heat generated in the reactor due to the fission of the fuel is taken up by the coolant.


•    The hot coolant then lea ves the reactor and flows through the steam gen erator.


         In the steam generator the hot coolant transfers its heat to the feed water which gets converted into steam.

         The steam produced is passed through the turbine, which is coupled wit h generator.


           Hence the power is produced during the running of turbine.


         The exhaust steam from the turbine is condensed in the condenser.


         The condensate then flows to the steam generator through the feed pump.


         The cycle is thus repeated.


Advantages of Nuclear Power Plant:


         Requires less space compared to steam power plant.


           Fuel required is negligible compared to coal requirement.


           Fuel transport cost is less.


           Reliable in operation.


           Cost of erection is less.


           Water required is very less.


Disadvantages of Nuclear Power Plant:


         Initial Cost is higher.


           Not suitable for varying load condition.


           Radioactive wastes are hazardous. Hence these are to be handled with much care.


           Maintenance cost is higher.


           Trained workers are required to operate the plant.


Nuclear Power Plants in India:


         IGCAR, Kalpakkam in Chennai.


           Rana Pratap Sagar in Rajasthan


           Narora in Uttar Pradesh


           Kakarpur near Surat at Gujarat



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