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Natural sciences

Grade 8

Energy: electricity, heat and light

Module 4

Nuclear power


To investigate the generation of nuclear power as a source of energy

[lo 1.2, lo 1.3, lo 3.1]

Assignment 1:

Do a project on “Nuclear power in South Africa”

Divide into groups for collecting information on nuclear power. Each group will answer the questions that follow and provide feedback in the form of a poster.

Where is South Africa's nuclear power station?

How much electricity is provided by this power station?

To whom is this electricity provided?

Which dangerous metal is used in the power-generating process?

Why is cooling an important component of this power-generating process?

Is it true that you need to burn 25 railway truckloads of coal to obtain the same amount of energy that is provided by a piece of uranium the size of one golf ball?



Assessment of Information Gathering

Were you able to gather adequate information to answer the questions and provide feedback through the poster?

[LO 1.2; LO 1.3]

Assignment 2:

Have a class discussion on whether nuclear power has value or not.

Assessment of Class Discussion

Were you able to identify values?

[LO 3.1]


LO 1: Scientific investigations:

The learner will be able to act confidently on curiosity about natural phenomena, and to investigate relationships and solve problems in scientific, technological and environmental contexts.

This is evident when the learner:

  • plans investigations;
  • conducts investigations and collects data;
  • evaluates data and communicates findings.

LO 3: Science, Society and the Environment

The learner will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the interrelationships between science and technology, society and the environment.

This is evident when the learner:

3.1 understands science as a human endeavour.


Assignment 1:

  • Do a project on “Nuclear power in South Africa”
  • The learners have to be divided into groups for collecting information on nuclear power. Each group is to address the questions that follow:
  • Where is South Africa's nuclear power station? AT DUINEFONTEIN NEAR MELKBOS
  • How much electricity is provided by this power station? 6% + TO OTHER COUNTRIES
  • Which dangerous metal is used for the power-generating process? ENRICHED URANIUM
  • Why is cooling an important component of this power-generating process? BECAUSE OF THE IMMENSE HEAT THAT IS GENERATED
  • Is it true that you can burn 25 railway truckloads of coal to obtain a quantity of energy equal to that which is provided by an amount of uranium that is equal to the size of one golf ball?
  • YES
  • Visit:
  • www.eskom.co.za/nuclear.overview
  • Many people become quite concerned when they think of nuclear power because of the horror of the Second World War and Hiroshima, etc.
  • The South African nuclear reactor is located north of Cape Town at Koeberg. It supplies roughly 6,5% of the country's electricity.
  • The Koeberg power station is the only nuclear power station on the African continent. It has a pressure water reactor with two units, each of which develops 960 MW of power. This represents approximately six percent of the power of that is developed in South Africa.
  • Koeberg supplies electricity to the whole of the Western Cape and exports surplus capacity to other parts of South Africa and to Namibia, our neighbour, during the summer.
  • Although is the only nuclear power station in Africa, there are 438 nuclear power installations right across the world. Most of these, namely 118, are in Northern America and supply approximately twenty percent of America's electricity. In France, 76 percent of the total power development capacity come from nuclear power stations. More than seventeen countries depend on nuclear facilities to provide at least a quarter of their total electricity requirement.
  • In spite of the perception that the use of nuclear power is being reduced, there are definite plans to extend the use of nuclear power in China, India, the Korean Republic and Japan. Six nuclear power installations were linked to electricity networks in 2000, and building was commenced on three new nuclear reactors – one in China and two in Japan. This has brought the number of nuclear reactors that are being built to 31.

A typical reactor comprises:

  • Fuel – Uranium (U).
  • A moderator – which slows down processes – almost like a system of brakes.
  • Control rods – to stop a reaction.
  • Cooling agent – which is able to cool down enormous heat.
  • Protective covering to protect people from radioactive radiation – much concrete is frequently required in this regard.

The process is as follows:

  • Enriched uranium is split (fission) under controlled conditions.
  • Splitting of one atom of uranium provides 10 million times the amount of energy that is obtained from burning one atom of carbon!
  • The nuclear reaction releases an enormous amount of heat.
  • The heat converts to seam.
  • The steam drives a turbine, which, in turn, drives a generator.
  • The steam is condensed and pumped back to cool down for reuse.

A more detailed explanation of the process:

  • The enriched uranium has the form of small particles coated with layers of carbon and silicon carbide. These layers create an inhibitor.
  • The fuel comes in the form of balls, each containing 15 000 of these enclosed uranium particles. The reactor contains 440 000 balls, 310 000 of which are fuel balls.
  • The heat that is generated during the nuclear reaction is borne away by means of helium gas, which enters the reactor at about 500°C, moves across the reactor fuel and leaves the reactor at about 900°C. This hot gas is directed through the closed-circuit gas turbine that drives a generator. From the turbine, the gas returns to the reactor and the cycle starts all over again.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Natural sciences grade 8. OpenStax CNX. Sep 12, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11050/1.1
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