Energy Matters: Generation of Electricity
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what happens in a Thermal Power Station?
- fuel is burned in a furnace to produce heat
- this heat is used to change water into steam in the boilerthe steam then drives the turbine which in turn drives the generator to produce electricity
what happens in a nuclear power station?
- nuclear fuel is reacted in the reactor to produce heat
- this heat is then used to change water into steam in the boilerthe steam drives the turbine which in turn drives the generator to produced electricity
what is a Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Station?
- is one where, at night, when there is excess energy being produced by other power stations, water is pumped back into the reservoir.
- this stores energy and during the day the water can be allowed to flow back down to produce electricity just like a normal power station
- such a system saves energy and also can be turned on quickly at times of peak demand
what happens in a hydroelectric power station?
- water is stored behind a dam in a reservoir
- the water then runs down pipes to turn the turbinethe turbine is then connected to a generator to produce electricity
What happens in a Nuclear Reactor?
- Energy is released from nuclear fuel in the reactor by a process known as a chain reaction.
- In a chain reaction a neutron hits uranium nucleus causing it to split.
- This generates heat and 2 or 3 more neutronswhich can then go on to hit further uranium nuclei.
what is the main disadvantage of nuclear reactors?
they produce radioactive waste, which needs to be stored for thousands of years before it is safe
what happens during an energy transformation?
- energy can neither be created nor destroyed
- energy can be degraded, that is there is less useful energy after the change than there was before
- this is because some of the original energy has been changed into heat and lost to the surroundings
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