Nuclear Power Plants
Nuclear power plants work on the chemical process of fission. Nuclear reactors are used to generate electricity. Fission is a type of nuclear reaction in which, when the atoms of certain elements called nuclear fuels absorb free neutrons, they split into two or more small nuclei and some free neutrons. In the process, large amount of energy is released. The free neutrons further strike the atoms of other fissile materials, thus setting off a chain reaction. The energy released from this chain reaction is harnessed to generate electricity.
Nuclear power plants have ways to control or stop these reactions when they seem to go out of control and become threatening. The nuclear fuel used are Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239. Every country is in the race of becoming capable of harnessing nuclear energy. It is so because the free energy released by nuclear material is millions times more than that contained in an equal amount of any other traditional fuel. However, what raises the concern about these reactions is that a lot of radioactive material is created in the process. These substances remain radioactive for long. This raises the problem of managing nuclear waste. Records show that there are about 435 working nuclear power plants in the world. You must have heard and read about the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accidents. Managing the 'used fuel' at the plants and reducing the chances of threats involve high designing skills, extensive research and use of advanced technology. Moreover, nuclear power stations should be able to sustain a terrorist attack (large fires or explosions), as power stations are preferred targets of terrorist attacks. Thus, the operating cost or cost of setting up a new nuclear plant is likely to shoot up rapidly not only due to increasing costs of fuels but also due to the advanced technology required.
Thermal Power Plants
These power plants generate electrical energy from thermal...