Within the nuclear power industry, the opportunity to extract energy is exploited by splitting atomic nuclei. Some substances can be split easier than others. In today's Swedish nuclear power plants, uranium-235 is split.
Two different types
Two different types of reactor are used in Swedish nuclear power plants – Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) and Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR). Here at Barsebäck Nuclear Power Plant, both reactors were Boiling Water Reactors.
The basic function of a Boiling Water Reactor is simple: uranium is used in order to produce steam. The steam drives a turbine, which in turn drives a generator that generates electricity. A Boiling Water Reactor resembles a kettle that boils 1,000 litres of water in one second!
Nuclear power and radiation
Nuclear power is often associated with radiation. There are different types of radiation and that which is formed during the uranium fission process in a nuclear powerplant is ionizing radiation. Such radiation does not only come from nuclear power. We are exposed daily to naturalionizing radiation, so-called background radiation, from space, the bedrock, buildings and our own bodies. A person living in Sweden receives on average 2.8 millisieverts(mSv) per year from all sources of ionizing radiation put together