How much energy does nuclear fuel produce?

From one kilogram of nuclear fuel used at a nuclear power plant, you can get as much energy as is released by burning two railroad coal cars (100,000 kg) or two railroad oil tanks (600,000 kg), therefore generating electricity based on nuclear fuel is cheaper and more effective.



How do they get nuclear fuel?

The very first step in obtaining nuclear energy is the mining of uranium ore. Ore contains less than 1% of pure uranium. Therefore, the ore is processed, and the next step is enrichment of uranium to increase the concentration of fissile nuclei of uranium-235 from 1% to 4%. Uranium fuel pellets are produced from enriched uranium. Completed fuel pellets are placed in a metal tube, which is called a fuel element. And in the form of several dozens of fuel elements connected together in fuel assemblies, the fuel will enter the nuclear reactor.



What happens inside a nuclear reactor?

A nuclear reactor works thanks to a process called fission. After loading the fuel in the reactor, the fission process begins, as a result of which fission products are formed - neutrons. Free neutrons collide with the nuclei of other uranium atoms and continue the reaction until all the fuel has run out. Therefore, the fission reaction of the nucleus of uranium atoms is called a chain reaction.



What is radiation?

Radiation is the emission of energy in the form of particles or electromagnetic waves. This is a natural phenomenon that has existed for billions of years. All living organisms constantly experience the effects of natural radiation. Different types of radiation reach the Earth’s surface from space and from radioactive substances in the earth’s crust. Potassium in the earth's crust also contains a natural radioactive isotope. Even in the tissues of the human body, radioactive elements are constantly present, and getting rid of them is simply physically impossible.



Does the nuclear power plant have a radiation effect on the population?

Nuclear plants do not pollute the environment. The radiation impact of nuclear power plants on the environment and the public is much smaller compared to power plants on oil, coal and fuel oil, which release harmful products of combustion into the atmosphere. Nuclear power plant is a closed fuel cycle enterprise. This means that all combustible fuel remains inside the nuclear power plant, and then is taken away in especially durable containers. Only pure water enters the atmosphere from NPPs.



How does a nuclear power plant work?

The principle of generating electricity at a nuclear power plant is similar to a conventional thermal power plant. A nuclear reactor, using the energy obtained from the fission of uranium, heats the water of the primary circuit, which enters the steam generator, where heat-exchange with water of the secondary circuit occurs. Secondary circuit steam from the steam generator enters the turbine, which drives the generator. The electric generator generates electricity, which is supplied to consumers through power lines.



What are the advantages of nuclear power?

1. Huge energy intensity of the fuel used (see. How much energy does nuclear fuel produce?)
2. Possibility of reuse of fuel (after regeneration).
3. Nuclear energy does not contribute to the creation of a greenhouse effect. Each year nuclear power plants in Europe help prevent the emission of 700 million tons of CO2, and in Japan - 270 million tons of CO2.
4. The cost of electricity produced at nuclear power plants is lower than at most other types of power plants.



Where else is atomic energy used?

Nuclear energy has been successfully used in space technology, aircraft manufacturing, deep-sea vehicles, and on icebreakers. About 160 different isotopes are used in the world - atoms of the same chemical element, similar in its physicochemical properties, but with different atomic masses. Using isotopes, a huge number of studies have been carried out in the most diverse areas of biology and biochemistry. One of the areas includes studies of the dynamics and ways of populations migration in the biosphere and of individual species within a given population. Radioactive isotopes are widely used in industry to automate and control production processes, in analytical chemistry, the production of building materials, to increase the sensitivity of chemical analysis, control leakage of petroleum products, in medicine for the diagnosis and treatment of a number of diseases.

Isotopes are most widely used in chemistry for studying the mechanism of chemical reactions, combustion processes, catalysis, synthesis of chemical compounds, and spectrometry. In medicine, using isotopes, the development mechanisms (pathogenesis) of a number of diseases have been discovered. Isotopes are also used in medical installations for irradiation, x-ray units, gamma-ray flaw detectors.

In agriculture, isotopes are widely used to determine the physical properties of the soil and the reserves of plant food elements in it, to study the interaction of soil and fertilizers, the processes of assimilation of nutrient elements from mineral fertilizers by plants, the intake of mineral food into plants through leaves, and other issues of soil science and agricultural chemistry.



Is the NPP safe enough?

Modern nuclear power plants are equipped with a reliable multi-layer safety system. It is similar in structure to a nested doll. The first is the fuel pellet itself, inside of which is uranium. The pellets are in metal fuel elements. The next protective barrier is the reactor vessel. And, finally, there is a concrete sealed enclosure (containment) outside. The design of the containment can withstand all kinds of external influences: earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, dust storms, air shock waves and even a plane crash.
There is also a control and protection system that can control a nuclear reaction until it is completely stopped. In addition, all stations are equipped with several fencing belts, checkpoints and other elements of physical protection.



Why is Germany abandoning nuclear energy?

Germany decided to phase out the nuclear program in 2001. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, before her election in 2005, took a stand in support of the Law on the rejection of nuclear energy. To date, after the closure of the 7 oldest nuclear power plants, Germany began to import electricity from France and the Czech Republic (78% of energy in France and 34% in the Czech Republic are generated at nuclear power plants).



Can a Fukushima-type accident happen again?

At the nuclear power plants that Russia is currently building, including abroad, the possibility of a repeat of the accident that occurred at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is excluded. At NPPs designed by Russian specialists, a multi-level protection system and innovative elements are provided - the so-called core catcher and passive heat removal system that allows cooling the reactor when the NPP is de-energized. It is available at all nuclear power plants designed by Russia, including Akkuyu NPP. Such levels of protection were not available at Fukushima NPP.



Will the construction of a nuclear power plant affect the environmental situation in the region?

A nuclear power plant is safe and environmentally friendly from all points of view. A nuclear power plant will not threaten crops and the aquatic environment. No emissions of chemical or other pollutants from nuclear power plants into the environment and water occur. For example, in Russia fishing competitions are held annually near nuclear power plants, after which the catch is checked with a dosimeter, and the results make sure that both fish and water are no different from ordinary bodies of water (Refer to Environmental Safety).



What is the largest (most powerful) nuclear power plant on earth?

The largest NPP in Europe is located in Ukraine, it is the Zaporizhia NPP. It has six VVER-1000 reactors with a total capacity of 6,000 MW.



Can I work at a nuclear power plant?

Nuclear energy is considered in the world to be one of the most advanced industries in terms of the level of technology used, industrial culture, quality of personnel training and qualifications. For example, Russia currently has the most advanced enrichment technology in the world. To get a job in the nuclear industry, you need to graduate from one of the specialized universities. In Russia, it is for example the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, the one that opened its doors to 50 Turkish students in the 2011-2012 academic year.