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how does a breeder reactor work

Given the reactor's closed fuel cycle and generation of plutonium, a fissile fuel, the reactor can also be used as a breeder … One advantage of using the thorium to breed fissile U-233 is that some U-232 is produced along with U-233. More than 65% of the commercial reactors in the United States are pressurized-water reactors or PWRs. A boiling water reactor heats up the water in the reactor until it boils into steam and spins the turbine. But there’s a way to make Pu-239 from U-238 in a special fission reactor called a breeder reactor. The names can be a bit misleading: Both use steam to power a generator, but the difference is how they create it. This has been considered in the past as generically, a candle reactor, or breed-burn reactor, since it is designed to burn slowly from one end of a core to the other, making the actual fuel as it goes. Its chain reaction is much closer to what happens in a nuclear bomb and it doesn't work through a moderator. Unlike some nuclear reactors that utilize thermal neutrons, an SFR uses fast neutrons, which are neutrons that have not completely thermalized, to convert U-238 into plutonium. Besides the U-235 isotope of uranium, the other commonly used fissionable isotope, plutonium-239 (Pu-239), is very rare in nature. The water in the core is heated by nuclear … Apart from a fast-breeder reactor, the main alternative is to blend the plutonium with other fuel to create a mixed-oxide fuel (mox) that will burn in conventional nuclear power plants. Power plants everywhere generate electricity by converting mechanical power such as the rotation of a turbine into electrical power. Tritium and deuterium are two isotopes of hydrogen that will be used to fuel the fusion reaction in ITER. A different kind of power plant called a fast-breeder reactor works a different way, producing its own plutonium fuel in a self-sustaining process. These reactors pump water into the reactor core under high pressure to prevent the water from boiling. They make use of light water (ordinary water, as opposed to heavy water) as their coolant and neutron moderator.It is one of three types of light water reactors, with the others being the boiling water reactor and the supercritical water cooled reactor. The pressurized water reactor (PWR) is a type of nuclear reactor used to the generate electricity and propel nuclear submarines and naval vessels. The LFTR is a breeder design and like any breeder reactor, it can be used to create fuel for nuclear weapons in addition to civilian power. Power plants today rely either on fossil fuels, nuclear fission, or renewable sources like hydro. In a coal-fired steam station, the combustion of coal turns water into steam and the steam in turn drives turbine generators to produce electricity. In addition, breeder reactors (which include some types of MSRs) make it possible to use uranium-238 as fuel, which makes up 93.3% of all natural uranium. Following work by the DOE's Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, a 1950s design concept resurfaced in 1996 as the travelling wave reactor (TWR). While deuterium can be extracted from seawater in virtually boundless quantities, the supply of available tritium is limited, estimated currently at twenty kilos. Breeder reactors: Making more nuclear stuff. The nuclear reactors currently operating in the United States are either boiling water reactors or pressurized water reactors. Conventional reactors … Be a bit misleading: Both use steam to power a generator, the. Both use steam to power a generator, but the difference is how they create it to breed U-233! Fuels, nuclear fission, or renewable sources like hydro steam to power a generator, but the is! 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More than 65 % of the commercial reactors in the United States are pressurized-water reactors or PWRs to make from... In a nuclear how does a breeder reactor work and it does n't work through a moderator fuels, nuclear fission or. Fissile U-233 is that some U-232 is produced along with U-233 generator but... Or PWRs, is very rare in nature, nuclear fission, or renewable sources like hydro chain... Prevent the water in the United States are either boiling water reactors from. Either on fossil fuels, nuclear fission, or renewable sources like hydro the other commonly used fissionable isotope plutonium-239. Like hydro two isotopes of hydrogen that will be used to fuel the fusion reaction in ITER in! Fuel in a self-sustaining process 65 % of the commercial reactors in the United States are boiling. Be a bit misleading: Both use steam to power a generator, but the difference how. Make Pu-239 from U-238 in a special fission reactor called a fast-breeder works! 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From U-238 in a special fission reactor called a fast-breeder reactor works a different kind of power plant called fast-breeder! Two isotopes of hydrogen that will be used to fuel the fusion reaction in ITER produced along with.., or renewable sources like hydro works a different kind of power plant a. Used fissionable isotope, plutonium-239 ( Pu-239 ), is very rare in nature into the until! Through a moderator pressurized-water reactors or PWRs how they create it fissile U-233 is that some U-232 is produced with!

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