Nuclear power plants

Radioactivity

Arises inside nuclear power plants, when the fuel splits into other elements  and gives off radiation. This  process is called fission.  The process creates heat which creates hot steam. The heat  drives a turbine which makes electricity.
While there are many elements that can undergo fission, nuclear power stations use uranium as the primary fuel. It is loaded into the reactor in long metals rods with just a fraction (4-5  % ) of uranium inside..

Long tradition

Nuclear power stations have been making electric power for over 50 years. People now better  understand their dangers  well so the risk of using them  has lessened over time. A scientist or nuclear engineer would say ‚the technology has matured‘. All modern nuclear power plants have many safety features and systems, most of them with several back-ups.
Nuclear stations have several advantages over conventional ways  of  generating electricity: they can run at full power for many months at a time. So they are very unlike the so called renewables (solar and

wind power) which aren‘t always producing power. Nuclear stations also do not produce any greenhouse gases or others emissions.

Current problems, future solutions?

There are still many problems with nuclear power  that cannot  be easily solved. The biggest of these is the radioactive waste they produce while they are operating. Even the so called ‚spent fuel‘ contains a lot of radioactive materials. There is no simple solution to this big issue: one way is building large storage sites deep underground. This is expensive and none have been built to date.
A better solution may be new types of reactors, which would use up the dangerous waste from older nuclear plants. There are several types of these and some of them have already been  tested in small scale or currently are being built .
Other new technologies are expected to make use of other nuclear processes like fusion instead of fission (so basically, creating bigger atoms instead of making big ones split apart). But these will take some time to  develope, probably a few decades.

 
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