Over the past 40 years, Ontario has gone from its early experimental stages of using nuclear energy to commercializing and powering our homes. Nuclear energy has proven too been safe, easy to harness, reliable and most importantly it emits zero greenhouse gases. Nuclear energy remains controversial and has several deficiencies; one of the areas of major concern is the low ratio of electricity production to the amount of thermal energy produced with nuclear fission. I believe that this issue can be resolved with a secondary method of electricity production.
The CANDU Reactor generates energy from nuclear fission. Nuclear fission is a reaction, where the nucleus of a uranium atom is split into two parts. This is known as an exothermic reaction, which releases heat energy. The heat produced by nuclear fission is then transferred to heavy water (D20) by the use of convection. The D20 carries the heat to a boiler containing H20, which is heated at 258oC, 4.5MPa . The boiler produces steam, which flows to a turbine, where it is converted to mechanical energy through the rotation of the turbine. The turbine drives a generator, which produces electricity. The remaining steam goes to a condenser, which is below atmospheric pressure, at 12.4 kPa . The temperature of the steam is around 50oC to 70oC . The condenser takes in lake water at 10o C at atmospheric pressure and after condensing the steam back into water, the lake water comes out at roughly 30oC. Before condensing the remaining steam, we could add a secondary electricity generation process, improving the efficiency of nuclear power plants.
The CANDU Reactor has waste heat, which is near 50oC to 70oC . With this heat, there is a possible method to create additional electricity. The thermoelectric effect is the conversion of heat into electricity, due to a temperature difference. This is elucidated in the Seebeck effect; the Seebeck effect states that a temperature difference in the junction, of two semiconductors or metals produces a magnetic field and an electrical current. The Seebeck effect is used the device know as a Thermoelectric generator.
Electricity is a service which humans have begun to take for granted. The amount of pollution created by power plants is on the rise, as developing countries increase their need for electricity. The one goal that is common between scientists and engineers is to make our current electricity generation systems more efficient. By adding a secondary method of electricity production, we are accomplishing this goal.
For the Control, I hypothesize that the greater the delta T the more electricity will be produced.