Tag Archive: Generator

Mar 21 2011

Pique the Geek 20110320: How Nuclear Reactors Work Part the First

With the news about the horrible failure of the nuclear reactors in Japan, it occurred to me that many people do not really understand how nuclear reactors work.  This is the first part of a short series designed to demystify how nuclear reactors work.

All methods for generation of usable amounts of electricity require some sort of energy source.  In photovoltaic units, the electromagnetic energy in solar (or other) photons is the energy source.  In geothermal plants, the interior heat energy from the earth is used, whilst in wind plants the kinetic energy of moving air is used.  Hydroelectric plants use the kinetic energy of moving water.

Fossil fuel fired plants use the potential energy contained in coal, oil, or gas by converting it to heat by combustion.  Finally, nuclear electricity uses the potential energy of a very few heavy elements’ nuclei that is released as heat in the reactor.

Nov 15 2010

Pique the Geek 20101114: Backyard Solar Cells as a Panecea

First, please do not get me wrong.  I am a strong supporter of solar power, either to charge your car battery or to run cities.  Before we start, get the idea that I am opposed to solar power out our your mind.  But solar power has it limitations.

Lately, the SOBber on the Fox “News” network (soon to have to be distinguished from The SOBber of the House of Representatives) has been adding solar generators to gold and food stashes as a way to survive the coming apocalypse in his repertoire of advertisers.  I shall not use the name nor the website for the particular backyard solar firm to which his adverts refer, but will start by stating that the claims are, to say the least, overblown.

Before we start, very happy birthday wishes to the former Mrs. Translator!