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Light Water Reactor

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Explain what a light water reactor is and why we are resistant to countries like North Korea having this technology.

·Name of nuclear fission reactors used for electric power production in the United States

·Light water (ordinary water) is used as a moderator, cooling agent and the means by which heat is taken and used to make steam to power the turbines

·Requires enrichment of uranium in order for the critical point to be reached and maintained

·Two types: pressurized and boiling

·Both have water passing over the reactor core to act as a moderator and a coolant and steam driven turbines

·The difference between the two types is that the PWR has two loops of water circulation with the water in the first loop creating steam in the second loop to power the turbines while the BWR has one loop. The PWR prevents any possible radioactive leaks from spreading to the turbine and condenser.

·The PWR operates at a higher pressure and temperature than the BWR (160 vs. 70 atmospheres; 315C-285C) and therefore as a greater Carnot efficiency but it is more expensive due its complicity

·US is opposed to North Korea having this technology because it would allow them to produce enriched uranium nuclear weapons, which would violate the 1992 Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The agreement states that neither North nor South Korea is allowed to have nuclear reprocessing or uranium enrichment facilities.

·The United States agreed to the above-mentioned declaration because we believed that the Korean government would collapse before 2003 and we didn't know that North Korea had uranium enrichment programs.

·The US was supposed to have finished construction of 2 LWRs in North Korea in 2003 to replace the old graphite reactors but delayed at the realization that North Korea had the technology to create nuclear weapons with enriched uranium.

·The US was replacing the graphite reactors because they allowed for the creation of nuclear weapons with plutonium. It was thought that the LWRs would prevent the North Koreans from making nuclear weapons because we thought they didn't know how to enrich the uranium to the proper point.

Pressurized Light Water Reactor
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Boiling Light Water Reactor
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http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/nucene/ligwat.html
this website deals with the physics of nuclear reactors.