Nuclear Power Plant: Definition, Working Diagram, Layout, Advantages, Disadvantages [With PDF]

A Nuclear Power Plant is a Thermal Power station in which the heat source is Nuclear Reactor.

Today we are going to read and learn Definition, Working Diagram Layout, Advantages, Disadvantages, and Application of Thermal Power Plant.

Note: At the bottom of the post you will find PDF that you can easily download.

So now let’s start,

Nuclear Power Plant Introduction:

The cheap and abundant power is essential to the modern world in the coming years. 

The repeated increase in industry and living standard of the people creates pressure on conventional sources of power, therefore, Coal Oil and Gas. 

These sources will soon be unable to meet the increasing demand of the world. 

The adoption of nuclear energy for the generation of power is Inevitable to the nation where other sources of generation are inadequate. 

One of the outstanding facts about nuclear power is the largest amount of energy that can be released from a small mass of active materials. 

The complete fission of 1 kg of Uranium contains the energy equivalent to 3100 tons of coal or 1700 tons of oil.

The nuclear power is not only available in evidence but it is cheaper than the power generated by conventional sources. As of 2013 in India, there are 6 nuclear power plants available with 20 Nuclear reactors generating 4800-megawatt power. 

India has planned to increase nuclear power generation by more than 30%of present generations by 2050.

Nuclear Power Plant Definition :

A nuclear power plant is a facility that converts atomic energy into usable power. The heats produced by a reactor is generally used to drive a turbine which in turn drives an electric generator.

Nuclear Plant Overview:

A nuclear power plant is a type of power station that generates electricity using heat from nuclear reactions. 

These reactions take place within a reactor. 

The plant also has machines that remove heat from the reactor to operate a steam turbine and generator to make electricity. 

The electricity made by nuclear power plants is also called nuclear power.

Nuclear power plants are usually near water to remove the heat the reactor makes. 

Some nuclear power plants use cooling towers to do this. 

Nuclear power plants use uranium as fuel. 

When the reactor is on, uranium atoms inside the reactor split into two smaller atoms. 

When uranium atoms split, they give off a large amount of heat. This splitting of atoms is called fission.

The most popular atoms to fission are uranium and plutonium. 

Those atoms are slightly radioactive. The atoms produced when fuel atoms break apart are strongly radioactive. 

Today, fission only happens in nuclear reactors. 

In nuclear reactors, fission only happens when the reactor’s parts are arranged properly. 

Nuclear power plants turn their reactors off when replacing old nuclear fuel with new fuel.

Nuclear Power Plants in World:

There are about four hundred nuclear power plants in the world, with many in the United States, France, and Japan. 

Some famous accidents at nuclear power plants were the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, 

1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, and 

1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States. 

An Anti-nuclear movement in Australia opposes the making of any nuclear power plants in the country. 

Nuclear Reaction:

In simple words, the Nuclear Reaction is like Splitting the main atoms which release Kinetic energy and Further used for Power Generation (Here several steps occurs).

Nuclear Power Plant Layout:

Nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant

The above figure shown is the general layout of the Nuclear Power plant. 

In brief, The working of Nuclear Power Plant, As you can see there is a Concrete shield (Here Uranium atoms are bombarding to produce enough amount of heatthat heats comes to contact with water and water gets heated and converted into steam and 

Now from heat ex-changer device the steam sends to the turbine for rotating blades and generating Electricity with the use of Generator and Some amount of steam which is not used comes through the condenser where it loses the heat property and goes to the heat exchanger and then again water sends to Concrete shield for repeating the process.

I know you are curious to learn how the main parts work? Explained below:

Nuclear Power Plant Main Parts or Component:

The Nuclear Power Plant consists of 7 Main Parts:

  • Nuclear Reactor
  • Coolant circulating pump
  • Heat Exchanger
  • Feed pump
  • Condenser
  • Turbine and 
  • Generator

Nuclear Reactor:

The nuclear reactors are used at nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity and in nuclear marine propulsion.

The Heat generates from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid which is (water or gas), which in turn runs through steam turbines. 

These either drive a ship’s propellers or turn electrical generators’ shafts.

Nuclear generated steam can be used for industrial process heat and some reactors are used to produce isotopes for medical and industrial use, or production of weapons-grade plutonium.

Coolant Circulating pump:

It circulates the water which is further going to be heated and used for turbine blade rotating.

Heat Exchanger:

The name itself indicates the Heat exchanger which works is to exchange the heat from lower to higher.

Feed pump:

Send the water from condenser to heat exchanger and from there by the use of a circulating pump it sends to the concrete shield system.


The condenser is the component that is used for extracting the heat from the working fluid or in simple you can say it cools the working fluid because it is having a low temperature.


The turbine is a device that is used for power generation. 

Here The fluid strikes to turbine blade which is further converted Kinetic energy into mechanical energy and generator convert that mechanical energy into electrical energy.


The generator is further used for converting into Electrical energy and the output we got is Power. 

How Nuclear Power Plant Diagram Works?

Nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant

The working of Nuclear Plant:  Nuclear Plant consists of the Nuclear Reactor, Coolant circulating pump, Heat Exchanger, Feed Pump, Condenser, Turbine, and Generator. 

The Heat is generated in a reactor by the fission reaction. 

The coolant in the primary circuit gets heated by observing the heat and enters into the Heat Exchanger. 

Here, In the Heat Exchanger, the feed water is heated and converted into the steam by the hot coolant using heat transfer. 

The steam from the Heat Exchanger will enter in the turbine to rotate turbine blades and generates power. 

The steam after doing the work enters into the condenser and converted into the water which is pumped again to the Heat Exchanger by the feed pump. 

The hot coolant gets cold in the Heat Exchanger is recirculated into the reactor by the coolant circulating pump. 

The cycle is repeated continuously for the generation of power.

Nuclear Power Plant Advantages:

There are some advantages of Nuclear Plant:

  • Nuclear Power Plant requires less space as compared to other Power plants. 
  • Well suited for large demands.
  • It gives better performance at high load factor 80 to 90%.
  • Less fuel consumption and no fuel handling.
  • The transportation cost of fuel is very less.
  • Increased reliability of operation.
  • Power plants not affected by adverse weather conditions.
  • Water required is less.
  • The high capacity of the plant can be installed.
  • Compact and simple in maintenance.

Nuclear Power Plant Disadvantages:

There are some disadvantages of Nuclear Plant:

  • Nuclear Power Plant has a High initial cost.
  • The danger of radioactivity hazards is always persisting.
  • Not suitable for varying load conditions.
  • The disposal of fission products is a big problem.
  • The maintenance cost is always higher.
  • Working condition is always detrimental to the health of the workers.

Nuclear Power Plant Application:

These are the application of Nuclear Plant:

  1. Nuclear Power plant for generating a good amount of electricity-
  2. Nuclear energy now provides about 11% of the world’s electricity from about 450 power reactors.
  3. The main use of nuclear energy is the production of electric energy. Nuclear power plants are responsible for generating electricity. 
  4. The energy Thermal is obtained which will be transformed into mechanical energy and then later into electrical energy. 

Nuclear Power Plant In India Location :

Having more than 10 Nuclear Power Plant exists in India. Some of them I have listed below which is:

1. Tarapur

Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)- Maharashtra

2. Rawatbhata

Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Rajasthan

3. Kudankulam

Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Tamil Nadu

4. Kaiga

Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Karnataka

5. Kakrapar

Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Gujarat

6. Kalpakkam

Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Tamil Nadu

7. Narora

Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)-Uttar Pradesh

Other Power Plant:

  1. Thermal Power Plant
  2. Hydro Power Plant
  3. Geothermal Plant

So This is all about the Nuclear Power Plant. I hope you understood complete.

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Anup Kumar Dey

A Mechanical Engineer with 19 years of working experience in various renowned MNCs.

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