IELTS Reports (Basic to Band 9): Processes – Nuclear Power

NOTE – The following contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. The simple one contains some tips that are useful for all reports about processes and is written for people who may not have a strong vocabulary or grammatical range, while the second contains more advanced vocabulary and is written at a Band 9 level.

t1 processes - nuclear power


The diagram illustrates how power is generated in a nuclear power station. The process begins with uranium fuel heating water and ends with electricity being delivered to homes and offices. There is also a system to stop overheating.

TIPS – (1) Always paraphrase the title. Try to think of at least 2-3 words you can change e.g. “shows” –> “illustrates” “electricity” –> “power” “produced” –> “generated”. If you are not sure about a synonym then don’t use it! For example, a nuclear power “station” is not a nuclear power “factory”! (2) Like all Task 1 reports, you MUST include an overview. Try to see how many stages there are overall, or mention the first and last stages with a structure like, “The process begins with…and ends with…” i.e. show the starting point and the result.

To begin with, the nuclear fuel is kept in a containment building to prevent it from escaping. The fuel is passed through two generators, which heats the water inside them, turning it into steam. Next, the steam travels along pipes to a turbine and spins it, which produces electricity in a connected generator. After that, the power passes through a transformer and then through power lines, where it is delivered to homes and so on.

TIPS – (1) Make sure you link the stages with a variety of linking vocabulary e.g. “Firstly” “After that” “In the next stage” etc. Aim for no repetition. (2) You do not need to have any special knowledge about the process in order to write about it. However, you can write about the purpose/aim of each stage e.g. the containment building is to prevent radiation leaks. Remember, if you don’t know the term “radiation leaks” then write something general like, “to prevent it (the fuel) from escaping. (3) Use “which” and “-ing” (participial clauses) to show the result of a stage. See the above paragraph for examples. This is important for your grammar score.

The remaining part of the process is a cooling system. Firstly, an outside water source is connected to the turbine by pipes, allowing water to pass around the turbine and prevent it from becoming too hot. Finally, the steam produced by this process is released into the air through a cooling tower. (165 words)

TIPS – (1) If you are not sure of specific verbs to describe what is happening then use simple ones (e.g. “is sent into” “passes through” “is put into” “moves along” etc.) For example, in the above paragraph, “allowing water to pass around the turbine…” has been used instead of “flows”.

nuclear power

t1 processes - nuclear power


The schematic provides an overview of the key stages in power production in a nuclear power plant. The process can be divided into two main parts: the generation of power from nuclear fuel and a water cooling system to prevent a meltdown.

To start, the nuclear reaction takes place inside a containment building in order to prevent the leakage of radioactive material. The process begins when uranium fuel is passed through two generators, producing steam. Next, the steam is forced under pressure down pipes to a turbine, which it spins. This spinning produces power in a generator, which then passes through a transformer, converting it to a voltage suitable for the power grid. Lastly, the power is distributed to local infrastructure, such as residential and commercial buildings.

During the electricity production process, there is a risk that the turbine will overheat, so there is a cooling system included in the design. Firstly, a nearby external water source is connected to the turbine via pipes, allowing cold water to pass around it and keep its temperature within a desirable range. Finally, the steam produced by this cooling is released into the atmosphere though large cooling towers. (194 words)

TIPS – (1) This answer contains a lot of vocabulary that requires some knowledge of the nuclear power process. Remember that you do not need to have any special knowledge. Look at the process carefully before you write, and try to put each stage into your own words, using simple verbs and some common sense.


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