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First, a nuclear reactor operates by generating huge amounts of thermal energy as its fuel rods radioactively decay by nuclear fission. The thermal energy heats the water surrounding the rods and helps generate steam which is directed through a turbine, which causes the turbine to turn. The turbine is connected to an electrical generator, which produces electrical energy by electomagnetic induction. Fuel rods are composed of enriched uraninium 235 or 238, both of which readily undergo nuclear fission, which is the splitting apart of the uranium nucleus, which releases enThe composition of the control rods is lead, or some other element which blocks nuclear fission from happening, which is why they are called control rods- they control the rate of nuclear fission.
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