CANDU reactor

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The CANDU ("CANada Deuterium Uranium") reactor is a Canadian-invented, pressurized heavy water reactor. The reactors are used in nuclear power plants to produce nuclear power from nuclear fuel. CANDU reactors were developed initially in the late 1950s and 1960s through a partnership between Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario (renamed Ontario Hydro in 1974, and, since 1999, known as Ontario Power Generation), Canadian General Electric (now known as GE Canada), and other private industry participants.

The acronym "CANDU", a registered trademark of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, stands for "CANada Deuterium Uranium". This is a reference to its deuterium-oxide (heavy water) moderator and its use of uranium fuel (originally, natural uranium). All current power reactors in Canada are of the CANDU type. Canada markets this power reactor abroad. In December 2009, the Canadian Federal Government announced that they would be seeking private investors for a partial sell-off of its CANDU division. [1]

Contents

Design features

The CANDU reactor is conceptually similar to most light water reactors, although it differs in the details.

Like other water moderated reactors, fission reactions in the reactor core heat pressurized water in a primary cooling loop. A heat exchanger transfers the heat to a secondary cooling loop, which powers a steam turbine with an electrical generator attached to it. Any excess heat energy in the steam after flowing through the turbine is rejected into the environment in a variety of ways, most typically into a large body of cool water, such as a lake, river or ocean. Heat can also be disposed of using a cooling tower, but they are avoided whenever possible because they reduce the plant's efficiency. More recently built CANDU plants, such as the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station near Toronto, Ontario, use a discharge-diffuser system that limits the thermal effects in the environment to within natural variations.

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