A fission reactor contains a number of different parts:
Many of the features of the reactor are designed to control the speed of the reaction and the temperature inside the shielding. An uncontrolled fission reaction is the basis of an atomic bomb.
Generating electricity using nuclear reactors carries high risk but offers large rewards. In operation, a very small amount of nuclear fuel will consistently generate a very large amount of electricity and generate very little polluting material. However, the financial costs of building and decommissioning a nuclear power station are very large, and the waste produced will remain radioactive - hazardous to humans and the environment - for thousands of years.
|Produces no polluting gases.||Waste is radioactive and safe disposal is very difficult and expensive.|
|Does not contribute to global warming.||Local thermal pollution from wastewater affects marine life.|
|Very low fuel costs.||Large-scale accidents can be catastrophic.|
|Low fuel quantity reduces mining and transportation effects on environment.||Public perception of nuclear power is negative.|
|High technology research required benefits other industries.||Costs of building and safely decommissioning are very high.|
|Power station has very long lifetime.||Cannot react quickly to changes in electricity demand.|