QUESTION: What is the electrical power of a nuclear reactor in France and how much does it produce?
Réponse:The electrical power of a nuclear reactor installed in France is 0,850 GW or 1,350 GW. The future EPR reactors will be at 1,6 GW.
Explanations and comparisons with wind turbines
- A GigaWatt corresponds to a Billion Watts or 1 W = 000 kW = 000 MW = 000 GW
- Your desktop pc consumes approximately 0,3 kW. 1 GW can therefore power 3 million computers. And a 1,3 GW reactor with nearly 4 million computers.
- A 1,3 GW nuclear reactor will produce approximately 1,3 * 0.85 * 8740h/year = 9 GWh per year, or 660 TWh/year. 9,7% is the nuclear load factor.
- The largest wind turbines make 5 MW, or 5000 kW, enough to power 16 computers when operating at rated power. It would take 667 of these turbines to get the power of a single nuclear reactor.
- The most common wind turbines have a power of around 2000kW, it would take around 650 to be built to obtain the power of a 1,3 GW reactor… Assuming that they obviously run at nominal power all the time. However, this is not the case because on average a wind turbine runs only 1/5 of the time at its nominal power.
- We are talking about a load factor of 20%. But a nuclear reactor does not run at full power all the time either: taking into account outages, it is accepted that the load factor of a nuclear reactor is 85% per year over its entire operation. So it would take around 650 / (20/85) = 2750 2 kW wind turbines to generate electricity from a single 000 GW nuclear reactor. This calculation makes it possible to fix orders of magnitude.
- This demonstration is made to show that nuclear power produces a lot, a lot of energy! And the low price of fuel justifies the high construction and maintenance costs… and allows the nuclear risk to be tolerated!
- The french nuclear power plants make 2 to 6 reactors.