DMPQ: Discuss the types of nuclear reactors.

Most of the nuclear reactors work on the principle of nuclear fission. The energy released in the reaction is used to turn water into steam. The steam is used to run the turbine.

Diff types of nuclear reactor:

Type of reactorCharacteristics
Light water reactor1.    Boiling water reactor

·         Reactor core heats water which turns to steam and then drives a steam turbine.

2.    Pressurised water reactor:

·         Reactor core heats water which does not boil. Pressurised water can reach upto higher temperature. This water energy is transferred to secondary low pressure water system.

Heavy water reactorHeavy water is used as a moderator. Heavy water does not readily absorb the neutrons as readily as water. The use of heavy water increases the probability of fission in U-235. It increases the probability of sustained chain reaction.
Gas cooled reactorsHigh thermal efficiency and can operate at very high temperature.
Fast reactorsThey can operate on fast neutrons. The  need of moderator is not there. But to sustain the chain reaction, fission material needs to be highly enriched . High amount of fuel is also required and this is a costly affair. They use liquid sodium as coolant.
Breeder reactorA breeder reactor is a nuclear reactor capable of generating more fissile material than it consumes because its neutron economy is high enough to breed fissile fuel from fertile material like U-238 or thorium-232.


For every 1kg of fuel used in the rod, 1.1 kg comes out of the reaction.

Thorium ReactorsThorium 232 is a fertile material.


Th-232 converts into Th-233. Th-233 converts into Protactinium-233. Pa-233 converts into U-233. U-233 releases energy via nuclear fission.



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