Nuclear reactor is a place or device used to create, manage, and maintain the continuity of nuclear chain reaction at a fixed rate. Unlike the nuclear bomb, the reaction occurs on the order of chain reaction seconds and uncontrolled.
Nuclear reactors are used for many purposes. Currently, the most widely used nuclear reactors to generate electricity. Research reactor used for the manufacture of radioisotopes (radioactive isotopes) and for research. Initially, the first nuclear reactor used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons material.
Currently, all commercial nuclear reactors based on nuclear fission, and is often considered the risk of safety problems. Conversely, some of the states that nuclear power is safe and free of pollution to generate electricity. Fusion power is an experimental technology that based in nuclear fusion reactions. There are some other tools to control the nuclear reactions, including thermoelectric radioisotope generators and atomic batteries, which generate heat and power by utilizing passive radioactive decay, as well as the Farnsworth-Hirsch fusor, in which controlled nuclear fusion reactions used to produce neutron radiation.
Picture of the patent “neutron reactor” Fermi-Szilárd.
Although mankind has mastered the nuclear power recently, the first nuclear reactor is controlled by the nature arise. Fifteen natural fission reactors have been found in mines Oklo, Gabon, West Africa. First discovered in 1972 by French physicist Francis Perrin. Natural reactor is known as the Oklo Fossil Reactors. These reactors are expected dormant for 150 million years, with an average output power of 100 kW. The stars are also relying on nuclear fusion to generate heat, light and other radiation. The concept of a natural nuclear reactor was first proposed by Paul Kuroda in 1956 at the University of Arkansas.
Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard, the first time to build a nuclear reactor Chicago Pile-1 when they were at the University of Chicago on December 2, 1942.
The first generation of nuclear reactors used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons material. In addition, nuclear reactors are also used by the U.S. navy (see United States Naval reactor) to propel submarines and aircraft carrier ship. In the mid-1950s, both the Soviet Union and western countries increases its nuclear research, including the use of the atom outside the military. But, as the military program, research in the field of non-atomic military also carried out in secret.
On December 20, 1951, electricity from the generator which is driven by nuclear power was first generated by Experimental Breeder Reactor-I (EBR-1) located in Arco, Idaho. On June 26, 1954, 5:30 am, the world’s first nuclear power plant began operating separately the first time in Obninsk, Kaluga Oblast, USSR. Nuclear power plant generates 5 megawatts, enough power to serve the 2.000 home.
World’s first commercial scale nuclear power plant is a Calder Hall, which began operations on October 17, 1956. Other first-generation reactors are located Shippingport Reactor in Pennsylvania (1957).
Before the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, actual demand for new nuclear plants in the United States has declined because of economic reasons. From 1978 to 2004, there was no demand for new nuclear plants in United States, although it may be changed in the year 2010 (see The future of the nuclear industry).
Unlike the Three Mile Island accident, the Chernobyl accident in 1986 had no effect on improving the standards of western nuclear reactors. This is due to the Chernobyl reactor was known to have designs that are not safe, use the RBMK type reactor, without a safety dome (containment building) and operated with unsafe, and the west to draw lessons from this case.
Hurricane Andrew in 1992 Turkey Point Nuclear Generating hit Station. More than U.S. $ 90 million in losses suffered, most of the water storage tank and hit the chimney fossil-fueled power plants (oil / coal) which is the location, but no damage containment building.
The future of the nuclear industry
By 2006, Watts Bar 1, which will be operational in 1997, was the last U.S. commercial nuclear power plant that will operate. It is usually used as evidence of the success of anti-nuclear campaigns of the world. However, the rejection of nuclear political will succeed only occur in parts of Europe, New Zealand, the Philippines and the United States. Even in the United States and throughout Europe, investment in the nuclear fuel cycle research continues, and with the predictions of some experts would power shortages, an increase in fossil fuel prices and concern for greenhouse gas emissions will update the needs of nuclear power plants.
Many countries are still actively developing nuclear energy include Japan, China and India, all actively developing the technology the thermal reactors and fast reactors. South Korea and the United States only develop technologically thermasSouth reactor, South Africa and China to develop the Pebble Bed Modular version Reactor (PBMR). Finland and France actively develop nuclear energy; European Pressurized Reactor Finladia having being built by Areva. Japanese build a unit that operated in 2005.
On 22 September 2005 has announced two new locations in the United States who has been chosen as the location of nuclear power plants.