Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
How a Generator
Makes Electricity
A generator changes one type of energy—the energy of
movement—into another type: electrical energy. A generator
takes advantage of a few basic facts about magnets and
magnetism. If you put a piece of iron (or certain other
substances) near a magnet, a force will pull the iron to
the magnet. The area around the magnet in which this
force acts is called a magnetic fi eld. Something interesting
happens when you move a conductor (a material that can
carry, or conduct, electricity) through a magnetic fi eld. The
fi eld causes electricity—an electric current—to fl ow in the
conductor. A current will also fl ow if the conductor is held
steady and the magnetic fi eld moves past it. Either of these
methods may be used in a generator to produce a current.
Nuclear power plant generators usually get the
movement they need from the turning movement produced
by a turbine. The electric current that comes from a nuclear
power plant generator switches direction many times a
second. The current is known as alternating current. This is
the kind of current used in the public power system, or grid.
to keep radioactive gases or liquids from getting out. The
core and moderator lie inside a strong steel container called a
pressure vessel. The vessel is usually located in a solid, airtight
building known as a containment structure. The containment
Search WWH ::

Custom Search