HKNIC - Power Generation

Power Generation
In a nuclear reactor, uranium 235 (U-235) undergoes fission in a controlled manner to produce a steady supply of energy. The energy can be used to produce process heat for industrial use, or can be used to produce steam to drive a turbine to turn an electrical generator in order to produce electricity.

Power Generation

Image Credit: DNMC

Over time, a fuel assembly will use up its stock of U-235 during power generation and a fuel assembly placed at the centre of the reactor core will use up its U-235 faster than that placed at the side of the reactor core. So typically, fuel assemblies need to be rearranged between every 12 and 24 months to ensure even consumption. Fuel assemblies that no longer have sufficient U-235 are called “spent” and are replaced by a batch of fresh fuel assemblies.

Typically, one tonne of natural uranium will produce more than 36 million kWh of electricity. To produce the same amount of electricity conventionally would require burning about 13,000 tonnes of coal or 7 million cubic metres of natural gas.

See Nuclear Power Generation Principles for more information.