How Nuclear Power Works
Nuclear plants make electricity much the same way that other SCE&G plants do. Steam is used to spin a turbine-generator which produces electricity.

The difference is the source of heat used to make the steam. Other plants burn coal or oil to create this heat. At the V.C. Summer Station, heat is produced by splitting atoms of uranium fuel inside a reactor.

Water heated by the nuclear fuel is kept under pressure inside a closed system. This hot water (about 600˚ Fahrenheit) flows through a heat exchanger called a steam generator. Here it heats another loop of water that becomes the steam used to turn the turbine to make electricity. The water from the reactor remains in this closed system to be used over and over. It is not mixed with the water that becomes steam.

After turning the turbine that makes the electricity, the steam is condensed by cooling water from Monticello Reservoir. The condensed steam — now water — is reheated and the process is repeated.


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