PWR vs BWR
What is BWR and PWR? The words PWR and BWR are used to describe two different types of nuclear reactors that are used for the generation of power for domestic as well as commercial uses. There similarities in both the reactors as they are designed to produce electricity using Uranium as fuel. Uranium is a radioactive material and its fission is carried out in both BWR as well as PWR nuclear reactors to generate electricity. Let us take a closer look at BWR and PWR plants.
Small pellets of Uranium are fed into fuel rods in a reactor in a careful manner so that when they are submerged inside water in a reactor, water is able to flow between them. When Uranium atom splits, a lot of energy along with fast moving neutrons is released. These neutrons help in splitting other Uranium atoms and set up a chain reaction. High amount of energy that is released is used to turn a turbine that produces electricity. Coming back to the topic, both BWR and PWR are classified as light water reactors as they make use of ordinary water and not heavy water.
What is the difference between BWR and PWR?
BWR stands for Boiling Water Reactor and it does not have a steam generator. Water absorbs the energy of the reactor core and is then sent into a pressure vessel where it turns into steam that is able to turn the turbine blades to produce electricity. PWR stands for Pressurized Water Reactor and it differs from BWR in that it has a steam generator while a BWR lacks it. We know that the temperature of boiling water increases if it is covered by a lid. There is a pressurizing unit in a PWR that keeps water that is flowing in the reactor under very high pressure so as to prevent it from boiling. This hot water gets converted into steam in the steam generator and then goes into the turbine to produce electricity. So the basic difference in BWR and PWR lies in the fact that while steam is produced in a pressure vessel in BWR, hot water passes into a steam generator in the case of a PWR.
PWR vs BWR
• BWR stands for Boiling Water reactor while PWR refers to Pressurized Water Reactor
• In BWR, pressure vessel is used to make steam whereas there is a steam generator in PWR
• More than 70% of the nuclear power generators that use light water are PWR in US.