Mar 16 2011

What is a nuclear meltdown?

Category: Energy & Fuel


Nuclear Meltdown, BiohazardNuclear power plants produce electricity by heating fluid with the help of a nuclear reaction. This nuclear reaction is often achieved by using some type of nuclear fuel, usually uranium or plutonium. The power created by this fuel is used to run a generator that allows power to be distributed throughout the surrounding area. The heat from this type of reaction is typically controlled with the help of a coolant. A nuclear meltdown is term used to describe the complete or partial melting of the core of a nuclear reactor. This accident can occur when the heat generated by a nuclear reactor exceeds the heat removed by the coolant and cooling systems to the point where the fuel plates or rods begin to melt. Once this melting begins and the radioactive materials escape the containment unit, environmental contamination may ensue.

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