Power Plants in New Jersey
nuclear power works
A nuclear power generating
station operates on the same principle as a conventional fossil-fueled
(oil or coal) power plant, except that the heat generation
is provided by nuclear fission rather than combustion. The
heat liberated in either process (fission or the combustion
of fossil fuel) is used to convert water into steam. The steam
enters a turbine which is connected to a generator that produces
electric current for commercial distribution.
A byproduct of the
fission process is the production of radioactive gases in
the fuel. These are called fission gases. Nuclear particles
(neutrons) are also absorbed by the water coolant and structural
materials producing radioactive activation products. A typical
power reactor may experience a small number of pinhole leaks
in the fuel over its operating life. Radioactive gases may
escape the fuel rod through these leaks and enter the water
coolant. As a result, radioactive fission gases are present
to some extent in the water coolant of the reactor at all
New Jersey Nuclear Generating Stations
Creek and Hope Creek use "Boiling
Water Reactors" (BWR) to convert the water into steam.
Salem 1 and Salem 2 use "Pressurized Water Reactors"
(PWR) to convert the water into steam. While there are many
differences between BWRs and PWRs, for the purposes of this
document, the most important characteristic is the radioactivity
released from the plant to the environment. These releases
are in the form of gaseous and liquid effluents, consisting
of predominantly short lived, inert noble gases and lesser
amounts of tritium and fission products.
The radiation released
to the air or water disperses and decays. The decay of radioactive
elements is measured in terms of half life. Half lives vary
depending on the particular radionuclide involved and can
be on the order of seconds, minutes, hours, days, or years.
Less than one percent of the radioactive material initially
present remains after seven half lives have passed.
of the radioactive pollutants discharged from the nuclear
power stations have demonstrated that Cesium-137, Iodine-131
and Cobalt-60 are the dominant radionuclides that may have
an impact on the general population. Dominant in this context
means that either they have relatively longer half lives and
therefore may be present in trace amounts in the environment
as in the case of Cesium-137 and Cobalt-60 or they represent
potentially significant exposure pathway as in the case of
Traces of radionuclides
dispersed into the environment during the normal operation
of nuclear facilities may contribute some radiation exposure
to the population. The technical data collected through the
ESMP define the quantities and characteristics of the radioactive
discharges released and identify the critical pathways which
have the potential for radiation doses received by the population.
Creek Nuclear Generating Station
1 & 2 and Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations (Artificial