nuclear power

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Related to nuclear power: nuclear energy

nuclear power

power, esp electrical or motive, produced by a nuclear reactor

nuclear power

[′nü·klē·ər ′pau̇·ər]
Power whose source is nuclear fission or fusion.

Nuclear power

Power derived from fission or fusion nuclear reactions. More conventionally, nuclear power is interpreted as the utilization of the fission reactions in a nuclear power reactor to produce steam for electric power production, for ship propulsion, or for process heat. Fission reactions involve the breakup of the nucleus of high-mass atoms and yield an energy release which is more than a millionfold greater than that obtained from chemical reactions involving the burning of a fuel. Successful control of the nuclear fission reactions utilizes this intensive source of energy.

Fission reactions provide intensive sources of energy. For example, the fissioning of an atom of uranium yields about 200 MeV, whereas the oxidation of an atom of carbon releases only 4 eV. On a weight basis, this 50 × 106 energy ratio becomes about 2.5 × 106. Uranium consists of several isotopes, only 0.7% of which is uranium-235, the fissile fuel currently used in reactors. Even with these considerations, including the need to enrich the fuel to several percent uranium-235, the fission reactions are attractive energy sources when coupled with abundant and relatively cheap uranium ore.

Although the main process of nuclear power is the release of energy in the fission process which occurs in the reactor, there are a number of other important processes, such as mining and waste disposal, which both precede and follow fission. Together they constitute the nuclear fuel cycle. See Nuclear fuel cycle

Power reactors include light-water-moderated and -cooled reactors (LWRs), including the pressurized-water reactor (PWR) and the boiling-water reactor (BWR). The high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR), and the liquid-metal-cooled fast breeder reactor (LMFBR) have reached a high level of development but are not used for commercial purposes. See Nuclear reactor

Critics of nuclear power consider the radioactive wastes generated by the nuclear industry to be too great a burden for society to bear. They argue that since the high-level wastes will contain highly toxic materials with long half-lives, such as a few tenths of one percent of plutonium that was in the irradiated fuel, the safekeeping of these materials must be assured for time periods longer than social orders have existed in the past. Nuclear proponents answer that the time required for isolation is much shorter, since only 500 to 1000 years is needed before the hazard posed by nuclear waste falls below that posed by common natural ore deposits in the environment. See Radioactive waste management

Nuclear power facilities present a potential hazard rarely encounted with other facilities; that is, radiation. A major health hazard would result if, for instance, a significant fraction of the core inventory of a power reactor were released to the atmosphere. Such a release of radioactivity is clearly unacceptable, and steps are taken to assure it could never happen. These include use of engineered safety systems, various construction and design codes, regulations on reactor operation, and periodic maintenance and inspection.

References in periodicals archive ?
Currently, country's four nuclear power plants KANUPP, C-1, C-2 and C-3 are operational and generating a total of 1,030 MW of power whereas with the inauguration of C-4 Chashma plant, the power supply would be further enhanced.
Nuclear power is a stable, cost-effective, highly efficient and cleaner form of energy.
There may be more than one nuclear power plants (-) Their construction is not going to be cheap.
The ministry reported in July that the project had completed research and had produced a mechanism for Generation II+ nuclear power plants, including performance and operation life tests, and that the project team was conducting tests on a control rod drive mechanism for Generation III, 1,700-megawatt nuclear power plants.
Since the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Japan approved nuclear power agreements with Vietnam, Jordan and Russia under the government of then ruling Democratic Party of Japan.
Future Perspective for South Korea's Nuclear Power Industry
First class speakers, a variety of exhibitors and a warm welcome in Malaysia made this event most memorable,” says Stuart Cloke, Senior Director & Company Secretary, World Nuclear Association, “The World Nuclear Association is looking forward to partnering again with Clarion Events, to make the Nuclear Power Asia 2014 even more successful.
He informed that China's two nuclear power giants are buying overseas uranium mines in a speedy manner to meet demand from a huge installed nuclear power capacity, laying the foundation for a great leap of the nuclear power generation industry.
So in answer to the question of whether nuclear power makes economic sense, it simply depends--"in some countries it does, in others it does not," says Alan McDonald, a staff expert in planning and economic studies at the IAEA.
Although new nuclear power plants would certainly be safer than older plants, the consequences of a major accident are still the same: widespread and long-lasting radiation pollution affecting several generations.
In 2003, partly in response to anxieties about terrorism at nuclear power plants, the state of North Carolina made potassium iodide (KI) available to people living near nuclear reactors.
These results are hotly disputed by the multi-billion dollar nuclear power industry.

Full browser ?