The plant itself is located besides several other sims dealing with science topics. Since the Fukushima disaster nuclear power is again worldwide controversial discussed so I decided to do my part to shed some light on this - for many people still pretty mysterious - technology.
While making my way through the pretty impressive complex the obviously biased display of nuclear power left quite a bad taste though.
|The Areva Nuclear Power Plant complex as seen from the air.|
Starting point of my exploration was the Uranium Cafe not far from the power plant itself. The name and classical style of the cafe began to make me wonder since nuclear power seems to be a bit too "cool" there...
|A quite nicely made diner indeed. If it just wont remind me on the naivety towards nuclear power they had in the 1950s...|
Outside some pure porpaganda did await me. Links to pro-nuclear-power websites, groups, posters and books like on the welcome-point shown below.
|They also offer a "tour bus". Too bad its a pure sightseeing ride giving you no additional information about the site like an automatic tour guide using open chat.|
After the rather disappointing tour I decided to explore the place on my own. Luckily the blue chairs you can find almost everywhere are offering a comfortable teleport service. First I headed to the control room.
|Some schematics of the reactor core and the coolants. Its a pressurized-water-reactor like the majority of modern reactors.|
|The reactor vessel itself is located beneath the containment structure consisting of several meters of steel enforced concrete.|
|A pretty handy feature: Clicking a red ball hovering above the reactor reveals whats usually well covered. The reactor's fuel rods and the flow of the primary coolant.|
A nuclear reaction however not only produces heat but also a high degree of radioactive radiation which requires massive shielding to protect the environment from.
In Fukushima the fuel rods did melt due to the failure of the cooling system and the nuclear reaction became totally uncontrollable. The heat eventually became that high the containment structure - as well as most likely the reactor vessel itself - did break. Releasing deadly radiation into the atmosphere.
|The reactors primary coolant constantly transports the heat produced by the nuclear reaction away from the core.|
|The hot and high pressurized water (red valves) goes to the heat exchanger where the heat gets transferred to the secondary coolant.|
Both coolants never get in direct contact for preventing any exchange of radiation. The cooled down water from the primary coolant returns again into the reactor core closing the circle.
|The high pressurized steam of the now heated up secondary coolant drives several turbines which transform the high pressure into electric power.|
|The transformer building which transforms the electric power to the needed voltages.|
|These transmitter eventually feed to the public grid. The dolphin joyfully jumping out of the water is a bit much don't you think?|
|Used nuclear fuel rods were stored into the cooling pond.|
|Two huge diesel generators represent the plants emergency power supply.|
Despite having my doubts about about whether to post this rather serious article here among usually rather cheeky and playful entries I feel the topic is too important to just go over it. The University's close connection to the AREVA conglomerate and its way of praising nuclear power was the main reason. Claiming this enormously dangerous technology as the only practical way to fight global warming is an alarming belittlement and distortion of facts I haven't really expected by a rather renowned institution.