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More than 90% of the time, nuclear energy operates all the time

Yesterday we posted about nuclear power, same that is powering submarines patrolling the planet (for United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China and India) and rovers doing research on Mars.

In spite of disasters like Fukushima (2011 Japan), Chernobyl (1986 Ucrania, then USSR), the Three Mile Island (1979 United States), nuclear power expansion seems inevitable to tacke future challenges, including climate related.

A significant perspective about this type of energy is generation capacity and sazonality.

Capacity is the amount of electricity a generator can produce when it’s running at maximum power. It is typically measured in megawatts (MW) or kilowatts. A plant with a capacity factor of 100% means it’s producing power all of the time. If they are taken offline (i.e. for maintenance or refueling) then they are not actually generating power.

Capacity usually depends on the time of the year, the season. For thermal power plants, Summer generation capacity is typically lower than winter's, because colder water is better at producing heat than warmer water. Hydropower also depends on water on the reservoirs. Same with wind, solar. But not nuclear.

According to the United States Office of Nuclear Energy, nuclear has the highest capacity factor of any other energy source—producing reliable, carbon-free power more than 92% of the time. That’s nearly twice as reliable as a coal (49.3%), natural gas (54.4%) and almost 3 times more than wind (34.6%) and solar (24.6%) plants. US hydropower 37% capacity factor is also relatively low.

Nuclear power plants accounted for 8% of the U.S. generation capacity in 2021 but actually produced 19% of the country’s electricity due to its high capacity factor.

Click at the image below to read more at their website. It includes links to 5 different types of reactor technologies and several initiatives.

Click here for a few other articles from our Carbon Credit Markets blog:


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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