Nuclear energy is the energy released from the nucleus which is the core of the atom. This energy source can be produced through fission or fusion.
Fission is when the nuclei of the atoms split into many parts while fusion is when nuclei fuse together. Nuclear fission is what’s used to produce electricity today.
In this post, enCore Energy Corp. shares what you need to know about nuclear energy:
Nuclear Fission, Explained
Nuclear fission is the process of splitting large atoms into smaller parts to make them release energy. It occurs when fast-moving neutrons collide with atoms. The resulting reaction releases heat that’s used to produce steam. The steam is then used to power a turbine generator as electricity.
There are three main types of nuclear reactors that use fission to produce electricity:
Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR): This pressurized reactor uses a mixture of water and fuel that creates steam to power a turbine.
Boiling Water Reactor (BWR): This type of reactor uses a mixture of liquid water and fuel to create steam to power a turbine.
Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR): This is currently one of the most efficient types of reactors. It uses a graphite moderator to slow down the neutrons, which makes the atom split more frequently.
How Does Nuclear Fission Work?
Similar to a chemical reaction, nuclear fission occurs when atoms break down into smaller pieces. Only the nucleus is affected, though. The surrounding electrons escape.
During the fission process, neutrons collide with a nucleus to create fragments. Some of these fragments are unstable, which makes them split into fragments of their own, which then release energy.
Nuclear fission is used to create energy in nuclear reactors. The electricity produced by this process is called nuclear power.
Mining and Disposal of Uranium
To produce heat, a nuclear reactor needs fuel. Uranium is the most common nuclear fuel. It’s mostly found in the ore that’s mined from the ground.
The mining process is complex and involves a lot of steps to ensure that uranium is extracted safely and responsibly. First, the ore is mined from the ground. Then it’s crushed and milled to separate the uranium ore from the surrounding rock. This uranium ore is then processed at facilities to separate the uranium.
While the mining process is ongoing, the ore is then stored in piles. These piles must be given time to decay, which can last for a few years.
After the mining process is complete, the ore is then transported and stored in facilities where it will be used as nuclear fuel.
Uranium is used in nuclear energy because it’s radioactive. In this state, it has enough energy to generate heat and electricity without needing any other fuel. It’s also found in a lot of places, like rocks and soil.
Nuclear power plants are constantly monitored for radiation. The nuclear fuel cycle also includes how it’s managed during the mining and disposal processes.
What Nuclear Fuel Cycle Is
The process of mining, preparing, and storing radioactive uranium ore is termed the nuclear fuel cycle. It’s an important part of the nuclear power plant. When uranium is mined from the earth, it goes through a number of processes before it’s used in a nuclear power plant to produce electricity. It’s the same for the way it’s processed for waste.
Nuclear energy is a mature source of energy that can power a country for thousands of years. Its efficiency is high, which is why many countries rely on it.
Nuclear energy has a lot of pros, with very few cons. It’s renewable, reliable, safe, and doesn’t emit carbon dioxide. The main hazard of nuclear energy is waste. As the amount of waste that needs disposal will increase in the future, it should be properly managed. Hopefully, what enCore Energy Corp. discussed here helps you understand nuclear energy and its benefits.
enCore Energy Corp. is the leading uranium ISR producer in the U.S. Contact us today to know more about our Uranium projects!