Types of Nuclear Reactor Power Plants
There are many concepts for nuclear reactors, however, in this article, we will discuss a few of the following types of power plants that have been developed commercially.
- Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR)
- Boiled Water Reactor (BWR)
- CANDU Reactor
- Gas Cooled Reactor (GCR)
- Sodium Graphite Reactor (SGR)
- Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR)
Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) Power Plant
Advantages of PWR
- Water is used as both coolant and moderator.
- Reactor is compact
- Fewer control rods are required.
Disadvantages of PWR
- Capital cost is high
- Costly shielding is required.
For more details see – Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) Power Plant
Boiled Water Reactor (BWR) Power Plant
Advantages of BWR
- The system is simple and cheap.
- The efficiency of the system is high.
- It’s a low-pressure reactor hence reducing the cost of the power plant.
Disadvantages of BWR
- It can’t meet sudden changes in load on the plant.
It has the possibility of radioactive contamination of the steam turbine.
The system requires extensive safety devices against radioactive radiation which are costly.
CANDU Reactor Power Plant
Advantages of CANDU reactor
- Less costly.
- Enriched fuel is not required.
- Heavy water is used as a moderator that has low fuel consumption.
- It has a good breeding ratio.
Disadvantages of CANDU reactor
- CANDU reactor has critical temperature limitations.
- Heavy water used as a moderator is costly.
- Leakage problems may occur.
- Large plant size.
For more details see – CANDU Reactor Power Plant
Gas Cooled Reactors (GCR) Power Plant
Advantages of GCR
- Gases are easy to handle.
- Gases can be pressurized easily.
- No corrosion problems.
- Graphite remains stable at higher temperatures.
Disadvantages of GCR
- Fuel needs to be operated at higher temperatures.
- A large amount of fuel loading is required.
- More power is needed for coolant circulation.
For more details see – Gas Cooled Reactor (GCR) Power Plants
Sodium Graphite Reactor (SGR) Power Plant
Advantages of SGR
- The high temperature of steam can be obtained.
- The system doesn’t need to be pressurized.
- Thermal efficiency is high.
Disadvantages of SGR
- Any leakage of sodium is highly contagious.
- Sodium is highly violent with air and water.
- Primary and secondary heat exchangers are needed to be shielded with concrete blocks against radiations.
For more details see – Sodium Graphite Reactor (SGR) Power Plant
Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) Power Plant
Advantages of FBR
- The absorption of the neutron is slow.
- Moderator is not required.
- A small core is sufficient since it gives high power density as compared to other reactors.
Disadvantages of FBR
- The neutron flux is high at the center of the core.
- It requires enriched uranium as fuel.