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    Nuclear energy: Using atoms to generate electricity


    Author: Siobhan McClelland, Canadian Geographic

    Publish Date: Oct 4, 2013   Last Update: Sep 20, 2018


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    Nuclear power uses uranium to generate electricity. Through a process called “fission,” uranium atoms are split apart in a nuclear reactor, converting water into steam, which then passes through a turbine to generate electricity.

    This process produces no sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides or carbon dioxide emissions, major components of greenhouse gases. However, radioactive waste from uranium mining and processing must be stored for anywhere from a few months to a few thousand years. 

    Nuclear power is a type of thermal power that uses uranium to generate electricity. Through a process called “fission,” uranium atoms are split apart, using a moderator, such as water. The heat from this process converts regular water into steam, which then passes through a turbine to generate electricity. The entire process takes place inside a nuclear reactor.

    Canada has the world's largest deposits of high-grade uranium located in the Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan. Ore is crushed and processed in mills to isolate uranium by using chemical processes that remove impurities.

    Since three of Canada’s four nuclear plants are in Ontario, almost 90 per cent of high-level, highly radioactive, uranium fuel waste is stored there.

    Other environmental concerns about nuclear energy include incidents like the 2011 tsunami in Japan, which damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing hydrogen gas explosions and radiation leaks.


    OCT 4, 2013 | DEMAND

    Nuclear energy: One of Canada's largest source of electricity


    OCT 4, 2013 | TRANSMISSION

    Nuclear energy: Transformers and transmission lines

    To get to the end user, electricity generated from nuclear plants first goes to a transformer, boosting it to a higher voltage so it can be transmitted long distances along transmission lines to local communities.


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