Technical design of nuclear power stations can be roughly divided on the generations of nuclear power stations. First generation was developed in last century, more precisely in 50’s and 60’s and this type of power stations is no longer in use, because these were early prototypes. Nuclear power stations of second generation began with their construction in 70’s and large majority of today’s nuclear power stations was built on principles of this second generation. First third generation’s nuclear reactor was built in Japan and began with work in 1996. This reactor is example of the third generation’s early design and in this moment building of the power stations that will please the standards of third generation’s new improved design has also begun. This improved design is also called III+ generation of reactors. First III+ reactor should be finished and set to work in year 2009 in Finland, on island Olkiluoto. Momentarily, in conceptual phase are designs of nuclear installments of forth and fifth generation, but their use should not start before year 2030.
Picture shows generations of nuclear power stations throughout history and predictions for future. Improved third generation of nuclear power stations should be in use at least to year 2030.
Basic features of third generation’s nuclear power stations are:
standardized design for efficient licensing, decreased capital expenses and decreased time needed for building
more simple and rougher design for simpler exploit and higher resistance for possible errors
higher availability of generators and prolonged time of exploit (second generation’s installments have anticipated use of 40 years and third generation’s installments should last for 60 years)
decreased probability of core melting
minimal influence on environment
bigger exploit of fuel decreases needed quantity of fuel decreasing amount of generated radioactive waste in the process.
The main advantage in comparison with second generation is the addition of technological solutions which have positive effect on the passive safety of the installments. These passive solutions are not using any active control or operator’s intervention in order to be successful in increasing the safety, in fact they use natural validities like gravitation or material’s resistance to high temperatures.
Details to one of third generation’s nuclear power station’s design check in this video: