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Author: Alexis Madrigal Alexis Madrigal Power plant designs can vary in their fuels, coolants and configurations, a fact beautifully illustrated by a series of reactor wall charts originally published in issues of Nuclear Engineering International during the s and s.

Since then, the charts have been lovingly collected by Ronald Knief, a nuclear engineer at Sandia National Laboratory. Recently, he completed his collection with help from the Idaho National Laboratory library and began to digitize the drawings. The first eight out of more than have now been permanently archived online by the University of New Mexico libraries. They also served as teaching aids for Knief during his tenure at the University of New Mexico, and served to illustrate his books.

Drawn from reactors built in different nations, the cutaways direct attention to the variety that exists in reactor design. Knief chose these eight as a cross-section of the industry. Douglas Point, pictured above, is a boiling-water reactor. In this type of plant, the coolant water flows directly through the fuel, boils and becomes steam, which drives a turbine. In this kind of system, high pressure keeps the water flowing through the core from boiling.

The superheated water is then directed to a heat exchanger where it transfers its energy to a second set of lower-pressure pipes.

The water in them turns into steam, which then turns a generator. Natural uranium is composed of more than 99 percent uranium , with just a small percentage of uranium Enriching uranium increases the uranium concentration in the material, which increases the amount of fission that occurs in a given amount of uranium. Its coolant is helium gas. The country, which also has large amounts of hydroelectric power, gets about 45 percent of its electricity from its reactors.

This plant is a boiling-water reactor. Breeder reactors yield more fissile material than they use. In other words, you get more plutonium out than you put uranium and plutonium in. During an era when plutonium for weapons was considered essential and uranium supplies were thought to be scarce, breeders were a hot item. Construction began on SFX in The reactor experienced a variety of problems throughout its lifespan and spent a lot more time switched off than running.



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Reactor Drawings Make Nuclear History Beautiful

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