“In 1939, two scientists discovered that when uranium atoms are split by bombarding them with neutrons, three things happen – heat is generated, more neutrons are released and the process repeats itself. This is called fission.
To control the rate of fission and to produce only the specific amount of heat needed to generate the required electricity, a “moderator” – heavy water – is used to slow down neutrons enough so that they strike other nuclei and sustain a controlled chain reaction.
In general, a nuclear reactor performs the same function as a furnace in a gas or oil-fired generating station. Rather than using gas or oil as a fuel to boil water to create high-pressure steam, the reactor uses the fissioning – or splitting of uranium atoms – to generate heat to make steam.
In all generating plants, the steam is then directed at the blades of a turbine, which causes the wheel and shaft to spin at high speed. The shaft is connected to the rotor of the generator, where mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy.
At Bruce Power, each reactor has its own turbine set, which includes one high-pressure cylinder and three low-pressure cylinders. The turbine rotor spins at 1,800 rpm.”