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Nuclear power plant : Reactors

Pressurized water reactor (PWR)


This is the most common type, with over 230 in use for power generation and several
hundred more employed for naval propulsion. The design of PWRs originated as
a submarine power plant. PWRs use ordinary water as both coolant and moderator. The
design is distinguished by having a primary cooling circuit which flows through the core
of the reactor under very high pressure, and a secondary circuit in which steam is
generated to drive the turbine.
PWRs currently operating in the United States are considered Generation II reactors. Russia's
VVER reactors are similar to U.S. PWRs. France operates many PWRs to generate the bulk
of its electricity.
Coolant
Light water is used as the primary coolant in a PWR. Water enters through the bottom of the
reactor's core at about 548 K (275 C) and is heated as it flows upwards through the reactor
core to a temperature of about 588 K (315 C). The water remains liquid despite the high
temperature due to the high pressure in the primary coolant loop, usually around 155 bar
(15.5 MPa 153 atm). In water, the critical point occurs at around 647 K (374 C) and 22.064
MPa (218 atm). In PWR, the coolant pressure must be greater than the saturated pressure at
Say, 3000C(85.93 bar).
Pressurizer
Pressure in the primary circuit is maintained by a pressurizer, a separate vessel that is
connected to the primary circuit and partially filled with water which is heated to the
saturation temperature (boiling point) for the desired pressure by submerged electrical
heaters. To achieve a pressure of 155 bars (15.5 MPa), the pressurizer temperature is
maintained at 345 C, which gives a subcooling margin (the difference between the
pressurizer temperature and the highest temperature in the reactor core) of 30 C. As 345
C is the boiling point of water at 155 bar, the liquid water is at the edge of a phase change.
Thermal transients in the reactor coolant system result in large swings in pressurizer
liquid/steam volume, and total pressurizer volume is designed around absorbing these
transients without uncovering the heaters or emptying the pressurizer. Pressure transients in
the primary coolant system manifest as temperature transients in the pressurizer and are
controlled through the use of automatic heaters and water spray, which raise and lower
pressurizer temperature, respectively.
Pressurizer
A Pressurizer is a component of a pressurized water reactor. The basic design of the pressurized
water reactor includes a requirement that the coolant (water) in the reactor coolant system must
not boil. Put another way, the coolant must remain in the liquid state at all times, especially in
the reactor vessel. To achieve this, the coolant in the reactor coolant system is maintained at a
pressure sufficiently high that boiling does not occur at the coolant temperatures experienced
while the plant is operating or in an analyzed transient. To pressurize the coolant system to a
higher pressure than the boiling point of the coolant at operating temperatures, a separate
pressurizing system is required. That is the function of the pressurizer.
Pressure in the pressurizer is controlled by varying the temperature of the
coolant in the pressurizer. Water pressure in a closed system tracks water
temperature directly; as the temperature goes up, pressure goes up and vice
versa. To increase the pressure in the reactor coolant system, large electric
heaters in the pressurizer are turned on, raising the coolant temperature in
the pressurizer and thereby raising the pressure. To decrease pressure in the
reactor coolant system, sprays of relatively cool water are turned on inside
the pressurizer, lowering the coolant temperature in the pressurizer and
thereby lowering the pressure.
Moderator

Pressurized water reactors, like all thermal reactor designs, require the fast fission neutrons
to be slowed down (a process called moderation or thermal) in order to interact with the
nuclear fuel and sustain the chain reaction. In PWRs, the coolant water is used as a
moderator by letting the neutrons undergo multiple collisions with light hydrogen atoms in
the water, losing speed in the process. This "moderating" of neutrons will happen more
often when the water is more dense (more collisions will occur). The use of water as a
moderator is an important safety feature of PWRs, as an increase in temperature may cause
the water to expand, giving greater 'gaps' between the water molecules and reducing the
probability of thermalisationthereby reducing the extent to which neutrons are slowed
down and hence reducing the reactivity in the reactor. Therefore, if reactivity increases
beyond normal, the reduced moderation of neutrons will cause the chain reaction to slow
down, producing less heat. This property, known as the negative temperature coefficient of
reactivity, makes PWR reactors very stable. This process is referred to as 'Self-Regulating',
i.e. the hotter the coolant becomes, the less reactive the plant becomes, shutting itself down
slightly to compensate and vice versa. Thus the plant controls itself around a given
temperature set by the position of the control rods.
Fuel
PWR fuel bundle: This fuel bundle is from a pressurized water reactor of the nuclear
passenger and cargo ship. After enrichment, the uranium dioxide (UO2) powder is fired in a
high-temperature, sintering furnace to create hard, ceramic pellets of enriched uranium
dioxide. The cylindrical pellets are then clad in a corrosion-resistant zirconium metal alloy
Zircaloy which are backfilled with helium to aid heat conduction and detect leakages.
Zircaloy is chosen because of its mechanical properties and its low absorption cross section.
The finished fuel rods are grouped in fuel assemblies, called fuel bundles, that are then used
to build the core of the reactor. A typical PWR has fuel assemblies of 200 to 300 rods each,
and a large reactor would have about 150250 such assemblies with 80100 tonnes of
uranium in all. Generally, the fuel bundles consist of fuel rods bundled 14 14 to 17 17. A
PWR produces on the order of 900 to 1,600 MWe. PWR fuel bundles are about 4 meters in
length.
Refuelings for most commercial PWRs is on an 1824 month cycle. Approximately one
third of the core is replaced each refueling, though some more modern refueling schemes
may reduce refuel time to a few days and allow refueling to occur on a shorter periodicity.
Control
In PWRs reactor power can be viewed as following steam (turbine) demand due to the reactivity feedback of the
temperature change caused by increased or decreased steam flow. Boron and control rods are used to maintain primary
system temperature at the desired point. In order to decrease power, the operator throttles shut turbine inlet valves. This
would result in less steam being drawn from the steam generators. This results in the primary loop increasing in temperature.
The higher temperature causes the density of the primary reactor coolant water to decrease, allowing higher neutron
speeds, thus less fission and decreased power output. This decrease of power will eventually result in primary system
temperature returning to its previous steady-state value. The operator can control the steady state operating temperature by
addition of boric acid and/or movement of control rods.

Reactivity adjustment to maintain 100% power as the fuel is burned up in most commercial PWRs is normally achieved by
varying the concentration of boric acid dissolved in the primary reactor coolant. Boron readily absorbs neutrons and
increasing or decreasing its concentration in the reactor coolant will therefore affect the neutron activity correspondingly. An
entire control system involving high pressure pumps (usually called the charging and letdown system) is required to remove
water from the high pressure primary loop and re-inject the water back in with differing concentrations of boric acid. The
reactor control rods, inserted through the reactor vessel head directly into the fuel bundles, are moved for the following
reasons:

To start up the reactor.


To shut down the primary nuclear reactions in the reactor.
To accommodate short term transients, such as changes to load on the turbine.
Advantages and disadvantages
Advantages
1. PWR reactors are very stable due to their tendency to produce less power as temperatures increase; this makes the
reactor easier to operate from a stability standpoint.
2. PWR turbine cycle loop is separate from the primary loop, so the water in the secondary loop is not contaminated by
radioactive materials.
3. PWRs can passively scram the reactor in the event that offsite power is lost to immediately stop the primary nuclear
reaction. The control rods are held by electromagnets and fall by gravity when current is lost; full insertion safely shuts down
the primary nuclear reaction.
4. PWR technology is favored by nations seeking to develop a nuclear navy; the compact reactors fit well in nuclear
submarines and other nuclear ships.

Disadvantages
1. The coolant water must be highly pressurized to remain liquid at high temperatures. This requires high strength piping and
a heavy pressure vessel and hence increases construction costs.
2. Additional high pressure components such as reactor coolant pumps, pressurizer, steam generators, etc. are also needed.
This also increases the capital cost and complexity of a PWR power plant.
3. The high temperature water coolant with boric acid dissolved in it is corrosive to carbon steel (but not stainless steel); this
can cause radioactive corrosion products to circulate in the primary coolant loop.
4. Natural uranium is only 0.7% uranium-235, the isotope necessary for thermal reactors. This makes it necessary to enrich
the uranium fuel, which significantly increases the costs of fuel production.
Boiling water reactor (BWR):

The boiling water reactor (BWR) is a type of light water nuclear reactor used for the
generation of electrical power. It is the second most common type of electricity-generating
nuclear reactor after the pressurized water reactor (PWR).
1.Reactor pressure vessel 2.Fuel rods 3. Control rod 4.Circulating pump 5.Control rod 6.Fresh steam 7.
Feedwater 8.High pressure turbine 9.Low pressure turbine 10.Generator 11.Exciter 12.Condenser 13.Cooling
water 14.Preheater 15.Feedwater pump 16. Cooling water pump 17.Concrete shield
This design has many similarities to the PWR, except that there is only a single circuit in
which the water is at lower pressure (about 75 atm) so that it boils in the core at about
285C. The reactor is designed to operate with 12-15% of the water in the top part of the
core as steam, and hence with less moderating effect and thus efficiency there.
BWR units can operate in load-following mode more readily than PWRs. The steam passes
through drier plates (steam separators) above the core and then directly to the turbines,
which are thus part of the reactor circuit. Since the water around the core of a reactor is
always contaminated with traces of radionuclides, it means that the turbine must be shielded
and radiological protection provided during maintenance. The cost of this tends to balance
the savings due to the simpler design. Most of the radioactivity in the water is very short-
lived, so the turbine hall can be entered soon after the reactor is shut down. (mostly N-16,
with a 7 second half-life). A BWR fuel assembly comprises 90-100 fuel rods consisting of
low enriched uranium, and there are up to 750 assemblies in a reactor core, holding up to
140 tonnes of uranium. The secondary control system involves restricting water flow
through the core so that more steam in the top part reduces moderation. Water acts as
coolant, moderator and working fluid for this type of reactor.
Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages

1. The reactor vessel and associated components operate at a substantially lower pressure of
about 7075 bars compared to about 155 bars in a PWR.
2. Pressure vessel is subject to significantly less irradiation compared to a PWR, and so
does not become as brittle with age.
3. Operates at a lower nuclear fuel temperature.
4. Fewer components due to no steam generators and no pressurizer vessel. This also makes
BWRs simpler to operate.
5. Lower risk (probability) of a rupture causing loss of coolant compared to a PWR, and
lower risk of core damage should such a rupture occur. This is due to fewer pipes, fewer
large diameter pipes, fewer welds and no steam generator tubes.
6. Limiting fault potentials indicate if such a fault occurred, the average BWR would be
less likely to sustain core damage than the average PWR due to the robustness and
redundancy of the Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS).
7. Measuring the water level in the pressure vessel is the same for both normal and emergency
operations, which results in easy and intuitive assessment of emergency conditions.
8. Can operate at lower core power density levels using natural circulation without forced
flow.
9. A BWR may be designed to operate using only natural circulation so that recirculation
pumps are eliminated entirely.
10. BWRs do not use boric acid to control fission burn-up to avoid the production of tritium
(contamination of the turbines), leading to less possibility of corrosion within the reactor
vessel and piping.
Disadvantages

1. BWRs require more complex calculations for managing consumption of nuclear fuel during
operation due to "two phase (water and steam) fluid flow" in the upper part of the core. This
also requires more instrumentation in the reactor core.
2. Larger pressure vessel than for a PWR of similar power, with correspondingly higher cost,
in particular for older models that still use a main steam generator and associated piping.
3. Contamination of the turbine by short-lived activation products. This means that shielding
and access control around the steam turbine are required during normal operations due to the
radiation levels arising from the steam entering directly from the reactor core.
4. Though the present fleet of BWRs is said to be less likely to suffer core damage from the "1
in 100,000 reactor-year" limiting fault than the present fleet of PWRs,
5. Control rods are inserted from below for current BWR designs. There are two available
hydraulic power sources that can drive the control rods into the core for a BWR under
emergency conditions. In case of power failure this may cause problem.
Pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR):

The PHWR reactor design has been developed since the 1950s in Canada as the CANDU,
and from 1980s also in India. PHWRs generally use natural uranium (0.7% U-235) oxide as
fuel, hence needs a more efficient moderator, in this case heavy water (D2O).
The pressurized heavy water reactor utilizes natural uranium as the fuel and heavy water as
both moderator and coolant. The use of heavy water as moderator facilitates the use of natural
uranium as the fuel. The cycle diagram of coolant in PHWR is similar to that in a PWR with
the difference being the use of heavy water as primary coolant.
CANDU (Canada Deuterium Uranium) type reactors are the common form of PHWR. The
core configuration of CANDU is different from that of a PWR. UO2 pellets (12.2 mm
diameter and 16.4 mm long) are stacked in zircaloy tube to form fuel rods of 13.1 mm
diameter and 490 mm long. These rods are arranged in concentric circles with a pitch of about
14.6 mm to form an assembly of 102 mm diameter and 495 mm long that houses 37 fuel rods.
A number of such fuel assemblies are inserted into pressure tubes of calandria.
Calandria is a low-pressure horizontal vessel, consisting of circular channels arranged in a
regular fashion and immersed in moderator (heavy water). The pressure tubes (containing fuel
assemblies) are loaded in the channels of calandria with the coolant (heavy water) flowing
around the zircaloy tubes inside the pressure tubes. This extracts the heat released during
fission and transfers the same to the secondary coolant (light water) that boils to generate
steam.
The power cycle adopted in PHWRs is the two-coolant cycle (indirect cycle). Heavy water
acts as both coolant and moderator, similar to the roles of light water in pressurized water
reactor. However, the heavy water used as coolant alone is at high pressures. The moderator
(also heavy water) is at lower pressure. Another difference between coolant system of PWR
and PHWR is the use of different coolant material for primary and secondary circuits. The
primary coolant is heavy water, while the secondary coolant is light water. The annular region
between the coolant tube and pressure tube is filled with an annulus gas like carbon dioxide.
The primary coolant passing thorough the coolant tubes removes the heat generated by fission
from the fuel rods. In the steam generator, heavy water transfer heat to light water that
undergoes evaporation to produce saturated steam. The steam then expands in a turbine
generator producing electricity. The spent steam is condensed in condenser and returned to the
steam generator for extraction of heat from heavy water.
The moderator also acts as neutron reflectors. Therefore, control of neutron flux and hence
the reactor power can be achieved by controlling the level of moderator. So, calandria
represents the most important assembly of PHWRs as fuel, coolant, moderator, control rods
etc. are all present in it. One of the important aspects of CANDU reactors is the facility for
online refueling without shutting down the reactor. The spent-fuel bundles can be replaced by
the bundles of fresh fuel during the normal operation of the reactor.
Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages

1. The use of heavy water as the moderator is the key to the PHWR (pressurized heavy water
reactor) system, enabling the use of natural uranium as the fuel (in the form of ceramic
UO2), which means that it can be operated without expensive uranium enrichment
facilities.
2. The mechanical arrangement of the PHWR, which places most of the moderator at lower
temperatures, is particularly efficient because the resulting thermal neutrons are "more
thermal" than in traditional designs, where the moderator normally is much hotter. These
features mean that a PHWR can use natural uranium and other fuels, and does so more
efficiently than light water reactors (LWRs).
3. Since unenriched uranium fuel accumulates a lower density of fission products than
enriched uranium fuel, it generates less heat, allowing more compact storage.
Disadvantages

1. Pressurised heavy-water reactors do have some drawbacks. Heavy water generally costs
hundreds of dollars per kilogram, though this is a trade-off against reduced fuel costs.
2. The reduced energy content of natural uranium as compared to enriched uranium
necessitates more frequent replacement of fuel; this is normally accomplished by use of
an on-power refuelling system.
3. The increased rate of fuel movement through the reactor also results in higher volumes
of spent fuel than in LWRs employing enriched uranium.
Advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR): These are the second generation of British gas-cooled
reactors, using graphite moderator and carbon dioxide as primary coolant. The fuel is uranium
oxide pellets, enriched to 2.5-3.5%, in stainless steel tubes.

The carbon dioxide circulates through the


core, reaching 650C and then past steam
generator tubes outside it, but still inside the
concrete and steel pressure vessel (hence
'integral' design). Control rods penetrate the
moderator and a secondary shutdown system
involves injecting nitrogen to the coolant.
Light water graphite-moderated reactor (RBMK): This is a Soviet design, developed
from plutonium production reactors. It employs long (7 metre) vertical pressure tubes
running through graphite moderator, and is cooled by water, which is allowed to boil in the
core at 290C, much as in a BWR. Fuel is low-enriched uranium oxide made up into fuel
assemblies 3.5 metres long. With moderation largely due to the fixed graphite, excess
boiling simply reduces the cooling and neutron absorbtion without restaining the fission
reaction, and a positive feedback problem can arise, which is why they have never been
built outside the Soviet Union.
Liquid metal fast breeder reactor

LMFBR is so named because during conversion of the fertile material into


fissile material use is made of high-energy ("fast") neutrons and the coolant
employed is sodium, which remains in the liquid state ("liquid metal") at the
prevailing high working temperatures. In a fast breeder reactor there is fertile
material (uranium-238) in the core and in the blanket around the core. The
core consists of a mixture of plutonium oxide and uranium oxide. Fission
takes place chiefly in the reactor core, while the conversion of uranium-238 to
plutonium-239 through capture of excess neutrons occurs in both areas of the
reactor. Liquid metallic sodium may be used as the sole coolant, carrying heat
from the core. Sodium has only one stable isotope, sodium-23. Sodium-23 is a
very weak absorber of neutrons. When it does absorb a neutron it
produces sodium-24, which has a half-life of 15 hours and decays in
to magnesium-24.
Fast reactors generate energy from nuclear fuel through their irradiation with fast neutrons.
In a thermal reactor, neutrons produced as a result of neutron absorption in fuel possess
high kinetic energy of the order of MeV. These are slowed by elastic collision with
moderator resulting in thermal neutrons with energies as low as 0.025 eV. Since the fast
reactor utilizes fast neutrons, moderation is not required. To be precise, moderation is
undesirable in a fast reactor. Hence fast reactors do not contain moderating materials like
water, heavy water and graphite in the core.
The most common coolants like water and heavy water cannot be used as coolants in a
fast reactor. Non-moderating materials like Helium and liquid metals like sodium, lead,
lead-bismuth eutectic qualify to be coolants owing to their non-moderating nature.
Due to better transport and neutronic properties, sodium is the most preferred choice for
coolant. One of the advantages of using sodium as coolant is the possibility of achieving a
high coolant (sodium) outlet temperature, while maintaining a pressure much lower than
those maintained for light water and heavy water reactors. This is due to the high boiling
point of sodium even at atmospheric pressure. Hence problems associated with high
pressures finds a way to a large extent.
Overview of Fast Breeder Reactors

Produce more fissile material than is consumed

Technology first developed in the 1950s

Utilize uranium 60 times as efficiently as PWRs

Cooled by liquid metal


FBR Design
1) Highly enriched uranium
or plutonium as fuel
2) Control rods (same
material as core)
3) Depleted uranium
4) Heat is transferred from
primary to secondary
sodium
5) Heat is transferred from
secondary sodium to water
Nuclear Fuel
Initially FBRs were designed to use pure uranium
oxide fuel
Eventually switched to MOX
Mixed oxide fuel (MOX):
Mixture of UO2 and PuO2
Already an existing source of fissile plutonium
Nuclear warheads
Highly enriched, former USSR and USA currently dismantling
arsenals
Depleted PWR fuel
Low enrichment caused by the fusion of U-238 and a neutron
Must be processed before it can be used
Fast Breeder Reactors vs. Pressurized Water Reactors

FBR PWR
Fuel is enriched to 15- Fuel is enriched to 3-5%

20% Moderator: water

Moderator: none
Heat transfer by water

Heat transfer by liquid


Reactor under high
metal or metal alloys pressure
Typically sodium
Fissile material is only
Reactor under low consumed
pressure
~1.2 fissile atoms
produced per fission
Advantages:
1. An advantage of liquid metal coolants is that despite low specific heat, sodium melts at
371K and boils / vaporizes at 1156K, allowing a total "temperature outlier" range of
785K of heat variation between solid / frozen and gas / vapor states allowing the
absorption of significant heat, less safety margins, in liquid phase.
2. The high thermal conductivity properties effectively create a reservoir of heat capacity
which provides thermal inertia against overheating.

Disadvantages:
1. Disadvantage of sodium is its chemical reactivity, which requires special precautions to
prevent and suppress fires.
Fusion Power Reactors
Fusion power is a form of power generation in which energy is generated by using fusion
reactions to produce heat for electricity generation. Fusion reactions fuse two lighter atomic
nuclei to form a heavier nucleus, releasing energy. Devices designed to harness this energy
are known as fusion reactors.
The fusion reaction normally takes place in a plasma of deuterium and tritium heated to
millions of degrees. In stars, gravity contains these fuels. Outside of a star, the most
researched way to confine the plasma at these temperatures is to use magnetic fields. The
major challenge in realizing fusion power is to engineer a system that can confine the
plasma long enough at high enough temperature and density.
As a source of power, nuclear fusion has several theoretical advantages over fission.
These advantages include reduced radioactivity in operation and as waste, ample fuel
supplies, and increased safety. However, controlled fusion has proven to be extremely
difficult to produce in a practical and economical manner.
Uranium enrichment
Uranium is a naturally-occurring element in the Earths crust. Traces of it occur almost
everywhere, although mining takes place in locations where it is naturally concentrated.
Uranium mines operate in some twenty countries, though about half of world production
comes from just ten mines in six countries, in Canada, Australia, Niger, Kazakhstan, Russia
and Namibia.
Enriched uranium is a type of uranium in which the percent composition of uranium-235
has been increased through the process of isotope separation. Natural uranium is 99.284%
238U isotope, with 235U only constituting about 0.711% of its weight. 235U is the only
nuclide existing in nature (in any appreciable amount) that is fissile with thermal neutrons.
For example The very first uranium bomb, Little Boy dropped by the United States on
Hiroshima in 1945, used 64 kilograms of 80% enriched uranium. The weapon grade
uranium is enriched more than 20%.
To make nuclear fuel from the uranium ore requires first for the uranium to be extracted
from the rock in which it is found, then enriched in the uranium-235 isotope, before being
made into pellets that are loaded into the nuclear fuel assembly.
Methods of Nuclear Enrichment:

Diffusion techniques

Centrifuge techniques

Molecular laser isotope separation (MLIS)

Separation of Isotopes by Laser Excitation (SILEX)

Aerodynamic processes

Electromagnetic isotope separation

Plasma separation
Disposal of nuclear waste

The categorization - high, intermediate, low - helps determine how wastes are treated and
where they end up. High-level wastes require shielding and cooling, low-level wastes can
be handled easily without shielding.

All radioactive waste facilities are designed with numerous layers of protection to make
sure that people remain protected for as long as it takes for radioactivity to reduce to
background levels. Low-level and intermediate wastes are buried close to the surface. For
low-level wastes disposal is not much different from a normal municipal landfill. High-
level wastes can remain highly radioactive for thousands of years. They need to be
disposed of deep underground in engineered facilities built in stable geological formations.
While no such facilities for high-level wastes currently operate, their feasibility has been
demonstrated and there are several countries now in the process of designing and
constructing them.
Various Nuclear Waste Disposal Methods
1. Incineration: Burning radioactive waste is largely done through commercially-operated incinerators developed for this purpose,
although certain large companies have the means to do this on their own. Incineration is common with low-level waste, as this material
usually consists of clothing or other common items that have simply been contaminated.
2. Storage: Over time, the radioactivity of nuclear material does decay, so storing this material until it is no longer radioactive is another
way to deal with proper nuclear waste disposal. This process, called radioactive decay, depends on the amount of materials and the
radioactivity level. Therefore, storage is typically only done with radioactive waste that has a shorter half-life, or the amount of time it
takes for the materials radioactivity to be reduced by half. There are commercial storage facilities for this waste, while some approved
companies have their own means of storage.
3. Shallow Burial: Highly radioactive material is hard to bury, but when it comes to mill tailings, these remnants can often be buried in
a specially-crafted spot nearby the mill itself. Often, this includes creating a pile of tailings, covering it with a non-permeable material like
clay. The pile is often typically buttressed by a mix of rocks and soil so that it doesnt erode.
4. Deep Burial: While shallow burials can be done with low-level waste, the most common way of disposing of high-level waste is in
deep burial pits. Many countries with natural resources follow this procedure of geological disposal, which consists of burying the material
deep within the earth. Oftentimes, underground laboratories are built to monitor usage and storage of the materials. However, as of now,
there is no government that has a facility for this type of disposal, although one is being created in Finland.
5. In water: At nuclear sites, a common way of storing material is in water. Nearly all of these sites have a special pond or have a special
pool constructed, which is a place that they can store fuel that has already been used for the process of generating power.
6. Recycling: For some radioactive material, such as previously used fuel, certain radioactive elements can be processed or extracted for
reuse. Uranium and plutonium elements have long lives, so they can be separated and recycled.
7. The Ocean: A very small amount of liquid waste that is common when waste is reprocessed to extract usable elements is released
into the ocean. This process is highly controlled, and radiation levels are deemed to be so low that they are inconsequential. However,
recent agreements between companies that rely on nuclear materials have phased out this procedure.