Generating Electricity

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  • Created by: mohap023
  • Created on: 27-02-14 14:54

Almost all electricity we use is generated in power stations.

In a coal or oil-fired power station, the burning fuel heats water in a boiler to produce steam. The steam drives a turbine that turns an electricity generator.

In a gas-fired power station, we burn natural gas directly in a gas turbine engine. This produces a powerful jet of hot gases and air that drives the turbine. A gas-fired turbine can be switched on very quickly.

The fuel in a nuclear power station is uranium. The uranium fuel is contained in sealed cans in the core of a reactor.

The nucleus of an uranium atom is unstable and can split in two:  energy is released when it splits, and we call this process nuclear fission. It becomes very hot because there are lots of uranium atoms in the core.

  • The thermal energy of the core is taken away by a fluid called the coolant, that is pumped through the core.
  • The coolant is very hot when it leaves the core.
  • It flows through a pipe to a heat exchanger then back to the reactor core.
  • The thermal energy


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