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Why nuclear power plants are used as base load plants?


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2013-08-17 08:07:28
2013-08-17 08:07:28

Nuclear power plants are capital intensive power plants and hence it is more economic to operate them at high capacity factors (or as base load plants)

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These plants provide base load stability to the electrical grid system while producing no greenhouse gas

* There are now some 436 commercial nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries, with 372,000 MWe of total capacity.* They provide about 15% of the world's electricity as continuous, reliable base-load power, and their efficiency is increasing.

The fission energy of a nuclear reactor is heat. It makes steam which runs a turbine electric generator. The electricity is put on the power grid and is sent to the load.

Nuclear plants are normally run on base load, that is at a constant output, because they run with lower fuel costs than fossil fired stations. Where there is a high proportion of nuclear plant, as in France at 75 percent, some of the nuclear plants will have to load follow, that is respond to changes in national load demand, but I don't think this applies in the US with only 20 percent nuclear. Stations with higher fuel costs would be shutdown at night or other low load periods, rather than nuclear, so yes there will always be some nuclear being generated at any time.

All electrical power from large plants is fed into a grid system and distributed along high voltage lines, to wherever the load is required, which will include large cities and industrial areas. So nuclear power is no different to fossil fuelled power.

The generating cost is much the same overall as coal, the fuel cost is lower but the plants are more expensive to build. Most nuclear plants run on base load because the fuel cost is lower.

What is the difference between base and peak load?Load is the amount of power in the electrical grid. Base load is the level that it typically does not go below, that is, the basic amount of electricity that is always required.Peak load is the daily fluctuation of electricity use. It is usually lowest in the wee hours of the morning and highest in the early evening. It also varies seasonally.Are base and peak loads provided differently?Base load is typically provided by large coal-fired and nuclear power stations. They may take days to fire up, and their output does not vary. Peak load, the variable part of the electrical supply and demand, is provided by more responsive and smaller plants whose output can be quickly ramped up and down or that can even be quickly turned on and off.

* There are now some 435 commercial nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries, with 370,000 MWe of total capacity.* They supply 16% of the world's electricity, as base-load power, and their efficiency is increasing.

No. Baseload power sources have to be as reliable as possible. Wind has a capacity factor (actually electric production/nameplate potential) less than 1/3rd of nuclear/fossil thermal sources.

* There are now some 435 commercial nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries, with 370,000 MWe of total capacity.* They supply 16% of the world's electricity, as base-load power, and their efficiency is increasing. Source:

Base load power in a home is the energy consumed for day-to-day operation of the home, that is not used in response to the outside weather. Base Load is usually thought of Lights, Appliances, and Hot Water, but by extension it is all plug loads, pool pumps, well pumps, computers, etc. Base load is pretty much everything but the energy used for Heating and Cooling.

Nuclear energy from the 104 operating nuclear reactors flows into the high voltage transmission lines, and once that has happened it is just power along with all other sources of electric power, so most areas will have some nuclear power being supplied. Of course the grid controllers determine which way current flows depending on the power stations available at the time and the load demand variations in different places. Nuclear plants are generally operated at full base load power because the fuel costs are much lower than for fossil fuels, so the variations in load demand are absorbed by the coal and gas fuelled stations. If you mean can nuclear plants be sited anywhere, this is a different question. You wouldn't put one in a city or highly urbanised area, and you need a source of cooling water as for fossil fuel stations, so the middle of a desert wouldn't be a good place. On the other hand you are not tied to location of the fossil fuels, as the nuclear fuel can easily be supplied by road truck anywhere there are roads. The other thing is how much consumption there is in an area, there is little point in siting a plant in a remote area and then having to build a new transmission line perhaps hundreds of miles to where the load can be used.

The fuel cost is lower than for fossil fuel, so once the plant is built it tends to be run continuously on base load at full power, to take advantage of this. Taking the high building cost into account, there is probably not much difference overall between nuclear and fossil.

To produce energy more than any other source can produce. A handful of Uranium can produce enough energy as the same as 4000 Train Load of coal [Given that each train load has around 15,000 Tons of Coal.]

I, personally, am not. The nuclear plants have their own carbon footprint, which is a good deal more than the footprint of wind, hydro, or solar. It is possibly greater than the carbon footprint of biomass or geothermal, and, in fact, the only power sources with a larger carbon footprint than nuclear are fossil fuels. This is because the construction and decommissioning of nuclear plants, and the mining, refining, and enrichment of nuclear fuel are all carbon intensive. Also, we have no idea how the waste is going to be handled, so we are somewhat unsure of the total cost of nuclear power in terms of carbon emissions. Consider this: In Vermont, where I live, we are in the middle of a political decision over whether or not to permit a nuclear plant to continue operation. The amount of electrical power put out by the plant is some what less that what would be saved if the uninsulated or poorly insulated living and working buildings in the state were insulated. The saving of doing that job is mostly fossil fuels. If the fossil fuels saved were applied to distributed power generation, with the waste heat being recycled to heat buildings (which cannot be done with nuclear power because the plants are to far from cities) the carbon footprint for electrical generation would be reduced for electrical generation to about four to five times the carbon footprint of nuclear power. In addition, the electrical power grid would be more robust and reliable. Such distributed systems can be converted to use biomass instead of fossil fuels. Wind and solar can be added so the base-load plants can burn less fuel when renewable power is supplied. By the time you are done, the nuclear plant is replaced with locally fueled power. Nuclear plants will have to be built, but not for combating global warming. They will have to be designed to reduce nuclear waste as a way of dealing with it. We have a supply sufficient to power noncritical reactors for several centuries. In the meantime, the waste is dangerous. There is no excuse to make more. Clearly other people will have other ideas.

Max Jacob Steinberg has written: 'Economy loading of power plants and electric systems' -- subject(s): Electric power-plants, Load

There are cross-border lines in Europe, so there may be flows in either direction depending on load demands at different times, but in general France has plenty of its own nuclear power so I doubt it. There may be power trades, but France is a net exporter of power.

Question; If you were to ask the operator in a power plant to tell you how many mega watts the plant is generating; how would you ask?Answer: How much load are you carrying?Power plants do not generate electricity -- they carry load.

Divide Power Load by "Power Factor"

Efficient generation of large amounts of base load electricity without air pollution.

hydraulic lift working on a tractor base upon load vs power

Power factor doesn't necessarily 'improve with the load', but it is determined by the load.

Yes, It can be used for base load plant. Baseload plants typically run at all times through the year except in the case of repairs or scheduled maintenance. An expert panel concluded that geothermal sources could produce approximately 100 gigawatts (GW) of baseload power to the USA by mid-century, which is approximately 10% of current US generating capacity (MIT 2006).

You say in the plants - do you really mean on the power plant site? Within the plant there are many auxiliaries that take a supply from the generator output, so that the sent out load is reduced by this amount. The biggest load is probably the circulating water pumps that feed the primary and secondary circuits (in a PWR). Then there is all the control and instrumentation including computers, lighting, heating and ventilation plant, and many auxiliaries in the turbine house, including the water circulation for the turbine condenser.

Plant load is a factor in every energy plant. In the case of solar power plants, the plant load factor is at an average of 75%. This means 25% of the time, optimum operation is not utilized. This number has to be compared with start up costs, operating costs and income generated to determine the feasibility of conversion to solar energy.

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