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- How does a nuclear power plant work?
The main reactor element is its core — a structurally separated volume, into which nuclear fuel is loaded and where controlled nuclear reaction occurs. In the course of the reaction uranium-235, which is the basis of nuclear fuel, undergoes fission induced by slow (thermal) neutrons, releasing a huge amount of heat. The heat is removed from the core by the coolant (in Russian VVER type reactors the coolant is usually water). Then by means of separators, steam generators and turbines this heat is converted into electric power. Thus, three mutual conversions of power forms go on at a nuclear power plant: nuclear power is converted into heat, heat power into mechanical, mechanical power into electricity.