Nuclear Power Plants in America
Nuclear power plants in America are working due to overall 99 reactors that emerge (according to net summer capacity info) about 98,621 megawatts. The whole system consists of 65 pressurized and 34 boiling water constructions. Currently, there are 5 more nuclear reactors in the US that are being built and are planned to work out about 6,218 MW altogether. 33 older reactors are shut down by now, for different reasons. The US generates 33% of the world’s nuclear power as of 2013, which makes the country the greatest supplier on the planet.
The government cares about the expiration date of all the nuclear power plants in US. In autumn of 2014 the NRC extended licenses for 74 reactors, but there are no applications for a license renewal, that can extend “life” of the plants up to 60 years, so far. 22 reactors will “retire” during the next 10 years in case no decisions about renewals are made. The most recent closed due to the license expiration facility is the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. Repair costs tons of money, that is why 4 more plants were closed in 2013.
History of the US Nuclear Plants
Most reactors were planned to be built 1970th, but after the Three Mile Island accident that happened in 1979 and the following economic changes, many plans were cancelled. Starting from 2012 some new reactors were built and older construction processes from 1980th were renewed.
The overall interest in nuclear plants in US wasn’t large until so called “nuclear renaissance” of 2000th. New plans were disturbed by economic challenges, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. As the result, the plans were diminished to 5 new reactors that are about to start their service by 2020.
But nuclear power was known to the US long time before, even during the Second World War, when it was decided to be used for peaceful goals. Researches started in different fields, including medicine, where scientists wanted to find a cancer remedy. The military services by that time led their works on nuclear power into other kinds of more peaceful uses.
The whole danger of using nuclear plants in US was shown by core meltdowns in the process of building and testing of experimental reactors. After all the accidents the US government decided to protect the industry, which made it the most protected.
Where Are Nuclear Power Plants in the US and what is TOP-5 of the Largest
- 5th. Oconee: 2,538 MW. On the 5th place there is Duke Energy‘s Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca, South Carolina. One of the most powerful US nuclear power plants possesses 3 reactors, which were first to generate 500 million MWhr. This one can power nearly 2 million houses a day. The plant was also the first to be granted a license extension for additional 20 years, which means it can work until 2031.
- 4th. South Texas Project: 2,560 MW. The South Texas Nuclear Generating Station in Bay City, Texas, was built in 1988 and for that time was the first in the area. It is one of those nuclear plants in US that have some extra features, like very useful emergency core-cooling systems, which work for both of its reactors. It was planned to add two more reactors 1,358 MW each, but the idea was abandoned due to the lack of financial supplies, and probably because of Japanese TEPCO representatives, who were still under pressure because of 2011 Fukushima accident.
- 3rd. Browns Ferry: 3,310 MW. The facility is located on the Tennessee River in Athens, Alabama. It’s famous for being the largest of nuclear power plants in US and in the world in 1974, the year it was built. The plant was the first to reach a 1 GW capacity. It was in a great danger during the tornado in 2011, but despite the age of the plant, emergency systems have worked out as watches to prevent a larger damage.
- 2nd. Palo Verde: 3,937 MW. The Palo Verde power plant in Tonopah, Arizona, is actually the largest of US nuclear power plants, but will be lowered to the second place in the rating very soon. This plant has 3 reactors and located in the desert, which makes it the only one large power plant in the world not located near a natural water supply. This facility also has bad fame for its radioactive water leak discovered in 2013, but it was reported to be too small to be dangerous for the public of the workers.
- 1st. Vogtle: 4,536 MW. The most efficient nuclear power plant in US is Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Georgia. Actually, it is “to be the largest”, as in addition to its capacity of 2,302 megawatts two new reactors will supply about 2,234 MW more. As if we added the fifth largest plant to the Vogtle. Its’ reactors were the first construction to be technically approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 1978 and this is a good news, but some critics think otherwise and don’t give a nuclear renaissance another chance after seeing the 15 billion dollars price tag. But still, this is a totally new level both for the US and for the rest of the world.