Thermal nuclear reactors

Maxwell Irvine

in Nuclear Power

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199584970
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191777875 | DOI:

Series: Very Short Introductions

Thermal nuclear reactors

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  • Nuclear Power and Engineering
  • Nuclear Issues (Environmental Science)


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‘Thermal nuclear reactors’ explains how the technology that had ended the Second World War was turned into a source of civil power. It is now more than fifty years since operations of the first civil nuclear reactor began. The experience accumulated over this period has led to significant advances in reactor design. The problems with the early Magnox reactors are explained. The various reactor types are defined by their choice of fuel, moderator, control rods, and coolant systems. The advantages and disadvantages of different types of reactor are highlighted, taking into account the issues of construction time, capital cost, efficiency, and impact on the environment.

Keywords: bomb; carbon dioxide; hydrogen; sodium; temperature; thermal; tritium; water; xenon

Chapter.  5849 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nuclear Power and Engineering ; Nuclear Issues (Environmental Science)

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