Chapter 17

Nuclear Power


There are two forms of power generation based on nuclear reactions: nuclear fission and nuclear fusion, but only the former has been deployed commercially. A nuclear fission reactor harnesses a nuclear chain reaction, normally involving uranium-238. There are a variety of different fusion reactors in use, including boiling water reactors, pressurized water reactors, and gas-cooled reactors. As well as these conventional reactors there have been attempts to develop fast or breeder reactors that can generate their own reactor fuel as well as energy. All the major reactor manufacturers have developed third-generation reactors that are designed to be safer than those operating today. However, nuclear power remains ...

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