Five of the biggest US nuclear power plants profiled

us nuclear power
Arkansas Nuclear One, February 2010. Image credit: Wikipedia/Edibobb.

After commissioning its first nuclear reactor in 1969, the US currently generates 20% of its total electricity from nuclear power plants.

The country is also the biggest producer of nuclear power in the world, with a share of 30% in the global electricity generation from nuclear facilities.

As of May 2020, there were 98 operating nuclear power reactors in 30 states in the US, according to World Nuclear Association.

A total of 65 pressurised water reactors (PWRs) and 33 boiling water reactors (BWRs) have been installed in the country, with a significant number of them built between 1967 and 1990.

In Georgia, there are two new reactors now under construction and are expected to come online between 2021 and 2022.

Here is the list of the US biggest nuclear power plants profiled by OG Monitor

Palo Verde Generating Station – 3.9GW (Arizona)

Licensed to operate 2045, Palo Verde Generating Station is located 55 miles west of downtown Phoenix near the community of Wintersburg, Arizona.

The plant generates enough electricity to power more than 4 million people in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.

The plant generates power from three pressurized water reactors, which are operated by the energy released from the splitting radioactive uranium atoms.

Construction on Palo Verde Generating Station started in 1976 and the third react was put in place 1988.

Operated by Arizona Public Service, the plant currently has 2,500 full-time employees. The annual economic boost from the plant is estimated to be $2bn, through taxes, salaries, material and others.

One of the key features of the plant is that it uses over 20 billion gallons of wastewater from the nearby municipalities to cool the plant.

Aerial view of the Palo Verde nuclear generating station in Arizona. Image credit: Cuhlik/Wikipedia.

Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant – 3.4GW (Alabama)

Opened in 1974, the plant is licensed to operate until 2033. It is located on 840 acres beside Wheeler Reservoir near Athens, Alabama.

Consisting of three General Electric boiling-water reactors, the plant is capable generating electricity to power nearly two million homes.

The plant employs 1,400 people onsite on full-time basis. The Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, generates 10% of its total electricity capacity from the plant.

It was named after a ferry in Lawrence County, at the crossing of the Browns Ferry Road from Huntsville to Courtland.

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station – 2.7GW (Pennsylvania)

Co-owned by Exelon Generation and Public Service and Gas of New Jersey, the plant features two operating reactors that produce carbon-free electricity to power 2.7 million homes.

Located on the west bank of the Conowingo Pond in Delta, Pennsylvania, the facility’s reactors are licensed to operate through 2033 and 2034.

The two reactors commenced operations in 1974.

A total of 860 full-time employees work at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station site. The plant offsets 19 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Since 200, the plant has been storing spend fuel onsite in dry cask storage. Before moving it to dry cask storage containers, the fuel was stored in pools for seven years.

South Texas Project Electric Generating Station – 2.56GW (Texas)

Located 90 miles southwest of Houston, the plant has two reactors, which are licensed to operate through 2047 and 2048.

The plant generates clean energy for up to 2 million homes in the state. It is located on 12,220 acres along the west bank of the Colorado River in Matagorda County.

The facility is one of the two operating nuclear power plants in Texas, with other being the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant.

NRG Energy, CPS Energy and Austin Energy are the owners of the South Texas Project Electric Generating Station.

South Texas Nuclear Generating Station. Image credit: United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission/Wikipedia.

Oconee Nuclear Station – 2.55GW (South Carolina)

With a generating capacity to power more than 1.9 million homes, the plant features three pressurized water reactor (PWR), which were completed in 1974.

Located on Lake Keowee in Seneca, it is the second nuclear station in the US to secure license renewal for an additional 20 years.

The Charlotte, North Carolina headquartered Duke Energy is the owner and operator of the Oconee Nuclear Station.