|PWR Operation principle|
The fuel elements containing uranium make the core of a pressurized water reactor (PWR). The water is heated in contact with the fuel rods to a high temperature in a closed system, the primary circuit. This water vaporizes the water of another circuit, the (secondary circuit) through heat exchangers called steam generators. The secondary steam drives a turbine that drives an alternator that produces electricity. The steam leaving the turbine is then cooled and transformed into water in a condenser before returning to the steam generator. The condenser itself is cooled by the water of a third circuit. Pumps circulate water in these various circuits. A pressurizer maintains the primary circuit water under high pressure and prevents it from boiling. Control rods allow to control the chain reaction.