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By United States. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. Office of Support Programs

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3 percent, and is known as step of this fabrication process (Figure 30). These fuel rods, about 12 feet long, are grouped together in bundles known as fuel assemblies. The fuel rods are carefully spaced in the assemblies to allow a coolant to flow between them. The fuel assemblies are grouped together to make up the core of the reactor (Figure 31). The nuclear fuel fissions and generates heat in the reactor, just as burning coal or oil generates heat in a boiler. uranium oxide to be processed into fuel.

Even though oilfired plants are much less expensive to build than either nuclear or coal plants, the costs of the fuel itself make their electricity costs considerably higher. Estimated costs of electricity from new powerplants in the future continue to show that both nuclear and coal will generate electricity at about the same cost but at a much lower cost than the alternative fuels such as oil. These projections depend on several unknowns-the future inflation rate, interest costs, regulatory processes, pollution control equipment, fuel costs, and demand for power.

They are removed to storage pools of water near the reactor where they are held for a time to allow their radioactivity to decay and their heat to diminish before shipment. After a period of time, the spent fuel assemblies may Figure 37. A large spent fuel rail cask. (Credit: Department of Energy) 49 Figure 38. To test the durability of a 22-ton container used to transport spent nuclear fuel, technicians at the Department of Energy's Sandia Laboratories in New Mexico mounted the cask on the bed of an expendable tractor-trailer.

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Atoms to electricity by United States. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. Office of Support Programs


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