Nuclear power plant

The world's first nuclear power plant (NPP), built in the city of Obninsk near Moscow, gave a current in June 1954. Its power was modest - 5 MW. However, it played the role of an experimental setup, where the experience of operation of future large nuclear power plants was accumulated. For the first time, the possibility of producing electric energy based on the splitting of uranium nuclei was proved, and not due to burning of organic fuel and not at the expense of hydraulic energy.

The world's first nuclear power plant (NPP), built in the city of Obninsk near Moscow, gave a current in June 1954

The source of the thermal energy of the nuclear power plant is a nuclear reactor, within which a controlled nuclear reaction is maintained. Substances in which spontaneous nuclear reactions proceed spontaneously are called nuclear fuels. The main nuclear fuel is uranium, plutonium. The space in the reactor, where the nuclear fuel is located, is called the active zone. Here the fission of atomic nuclei of uranium is going on and thermal energy is released. To protect the operating personnel from the harmful radiation accompanying the chain reaction, the walls of the reactor are made sufficiently thick. The speed of a chain nuclear reaction is controlled by control rods from a substance that strongly absorbs neutrons (most often boron or cadmium). The deeper the rods are lowered into the core, the more neutrons they absorb, the less neutrons are involved in the reaction and the less heat is released. And vice versa. In case an overheating of the core occurs, an emergency stop of the nuclear reactor is provided. Emergency rods quickly fall into the active zone, intensively absorb neutrons, the chain reaction slows down or stops. Heat from the nuclear reactor is removed by means of a liquid or gaseous coolant, which is pumped through the active zone by pumps. The heat carrier can be water, metallic sodium or gaseous substances. He takes heat from nuclear fuel and transfers it to a heat exchanger. This closed system with the coolant is called the first circuit. In the heat exchanger, the heat of the primary circuit heats the water of the second circuit to boiling. The resulting steam is sent to a turbine or used for the heating of industrial and residential buildings.

Since 1964, intensive construction of nuclear power plants of large and medium capacity has been carried out in Russia and Ukraine. The first lines of the Beloyarsk NPP have a capacity of 900 MW, Novovoronezh NPP - 1455 MW, Kolskoi - 880 MW, Leningrad - 3000 MW. After the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986, the construction of nuclear power plants was suspended. This forced the specialists of the whole world to reconsider the NPP safety problem and to think about the need for international cooperation in order to enhance the safety of the NPP.

The largest nuclear power plant in Europe is the Zaporizhzhya NPP in Energodar (Zaporizhzhya Oblast, Ukraine), the construction of which began in 1980. Since 1996, 6 power units with a total capacity of 6 GW have been operating. The largest nuclear power plant in the world (according to installed capacity) - Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP (for 2008) is located in the Japanese city of Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture. Five boiling nuclear reactors (BWRs) and two improved boiling nuclear reactors (ABWR) are in operation, with a total capacity of 8,212 GW.