What are the types of reactors and what do their names mean?


World nuclear energy is based on power-producing reactors specifically designed for producing electricity. In addition there are research reactors principally used for scientific research work and the experimental production of radionuclide products, marine reactor units and special purposes reactors. Some of the reactors are multipurpose which means that they simultaneously operate in a controlled mode to perform several functions (for instance: to generate electric power and desalinate water, to generate electric power and supply heat to industrial and household consumers). Abbreviations of reactors’ names reflect their designation as well as their main physical, technical and specific engineering properties. So, the abbreviation VVER (or WWER) means “water-water energetic reactor” (a power reactor of 1000 megawatt output where water is both moderator and coolant).
PHWR means “pressurized heavy-water reactor”, that uses heavy water as its coolant and neutron moderator.

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