Ages 12-13: Educational Resources
How does a nuclear reactor work?
A nuclear reactor is a device, or machine, to split atoms to produce heat.
The heat produced in the reactor is used to boil water, creating steam.
The steam spins a turbine that powers a generator.
The generator produces electricity.
Nuclear power plants are equipped with lots of safety features.
Safety features include systems to ensure fission is controlled inside the reactor.
Systems are also installed to shut the nuclear reactors down in case of emergency and to keep cooling the fuel.
The three key principles of nuclear reactor safety are:
- control the nuclear reaction
- cool the fuel
- contain any radiation
Very thick walls surround the reactor building to protect people and the environment.
Only experts are allowed to run nuclear power plants.
Nuclear facility inspectors, like Geiger, visit nuclear plants regularly and monitor them to ensure they are safe.
Did you know? Canada has five nuclear power plants in three provinces: Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec.