Nuclear power plants are impressive and fascinating pieces of technology. Not only do they generate vast amounts of energy with minimal environmental disruption, but their sheer scale is genuinely remarkable.
This article will look at today’s ten largest nuclear power plants, exploring their power output capabilities and how they operate.
Largest Nuclear Power Plants in the World
1. Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, Japan
TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa facility in Japan is the most extensive nuclear power plant in the world, with a net ability of 7,965MW. It has seven boiling water reactors and an installed capacity of 8,212MW. The first five have a capability of 1,100 MW, respectively, and the other two are capable of 1,356MW.
The first unit operated in 1985, but the government needed to halt the operation because of the Fukushima catastrophe in 2012. TEPCO is making transformations to comply with new safety codes established by Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority, and all reactors should be running again in the near future.
2. Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, Canada
The Bruce Nuclear Plant is the second largest nuke plant in the world. It’s run by Bruce Power and owned by Ontario Power Generation, with a capacity of 6,430 MW. The plant has eight pressurized heavy water reactors, each with a different capacity ranging from 786MW to 891MW. The last reactor went live in 1987.
Bruce 1 was shut down in 1997 but came back online in 2012. The same goes for Bruce 2, which restarted in 2012 after a shutdown in 1995. In 2019, the plant’s capacity was increased by 22MW to 6,430MW after a planned outage in Bruce 3.
3. Hanul Nuclear Power Plant, South Korea
The Ulchin Nuclear Power Plant, now known as Hanul Nuclear Power Plant, is a giant nuking plant in South Korea. It’s got a huge installed capacity of 6,189 MW and a design capacity of 5,908 MW, making it one of the largest in the world. The first phase of the Hanul plant was finished in 2005, with six pressurized water reactors (PWR).
In the second phase, they’re adding two more reactors, Shin Hanul-1, and Shin Hanul-2, which will bring the plant’s total capacity up to 8,608 MW once completed in late 2019. These units will also bump up the gross capacity to 8,989 MW.
4. Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant, South Korea
The Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant in South Korea, formerly the Yeonggwang Nuclear Power Plant, is the world’s fourth-largest nuclear power station. With a net capacity of 5,899MW and a gross capacity of 6,164MW, it’s operated by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP).
The plant has six pressurized water reactor (PWR) units commissioned from 1986 to 2002. But, unit 3, with a capacity of 1,000MW, had to shut down in November 2012 due to cracks in its control rod guide tube. The unit was fixed and returned online in June 2013 after eight months of repair work.
5. Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine
The Zaporizhzhia Nuke Plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine, is the largest nuclear power station in Europe and ranks 5th in the world. It has a net capacity of 5,700MW and a gross capacity of 6,000MW. It’s got six VVER-1000 PWR units fired up between 1984 and 1995 and is owned and run by Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear energy company. The plant produces more than a fifth of the country’s total electricity.
6. Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant, France
The Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant in Northern France packs a punch as the 6th largest nuke plant in the world, with a net capacity of 5,460MW and gross capacity of 5,706MW. It comprises six PWR units, each with a similar capacity, that came online between 1980 and 1985. EDF, the French electric utility company, owns and operates this powerhouse. In August 2010, the Gravelines plant made history by producing 1,000 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, setting a benchmark for nuclear power facilities.
7. Paluel Nuclear Power Plant, France
The Paluel Nuclear Power Plant, near Dieppe in France, is a big deal. It’s the seventh largest NPP in the world by its net capacity, and it’s spread across 160 hectares right on the shore of the English Channel. EDF operates it, and it’s got four PWR reactors with a total gross capacity of 5,528MW and a total net capacity of 5,200MW. The plant started construction in 1977, and the first two units came online in 1984, with the third and fourth units following in 1985. It’s France’s second largest nuclear power plant, with Gravelines being number one.
8. Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant, France
The Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant in France has a gross capacity of 5,448MW and a net capacity of 5,200MW, which makes it the same size as the Paluel Nuclear Power Plant, the eighth largest in the world. EDF owns and operates the Cattenom plant, which consists of four pressurized water reactors, each with a capacity of 1,362MW. Construction started in 1979, and commercial operations began in 1987. The final reactor was connected in 1991, and the plant uses water from the Moselle River. In 2019, they replaced 64,200 tubes in the condensers of the plant.
9. Yangjiang Nuclear Power Plant, China
The Yangjiang nuclear power plant in Guangdong, China, is one of the world’s largest, with a total gross capacity of 5,430MW and five 1086MW PWRs. The sixth reactor is set to be added in 2019. The plant is run by the Yangjiang Nuclear Power Company and owned by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC), with a current net capacity of 5,000MW, making it the ninth largest NPP globally. The first three reactors started operation in 2014-2016, followed by the fourth and fifth in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
10. Shin Kori Nuclear Power Plant, South Korea
The Shin Kori Nuclear Power Plant near Ulsan, South Korea, is a big player in nuclear energy. With a net capacity of 4,748MW and a gross capacity of 4,974MW, it ranks as the third-largest nuclear power plant in South Korea and the tenth-largest worldwide. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) owns and operates the power station, which houses four PWR units, including two advanced APR-1400 reactors. And there’s even more growth on the horizon, with two more APR-1400 units under construction since 2017 and 2018.
The first two units, with a net capacity of 996MW each, were put into operation between 2010 and 2012. The third and fourth units followed in 2016 and 2019, respectively.
To sum up, the leading nuclear power plants in the world are situated in different countries and managed by different firms. These nuclear power plants hold a noteworthy part in satisfying the energy requirements of their nations and enhancing the worldwide energy alliance.
With their vast capacities, these power plants have become models for atomic power production. They remain to be renovated and developed to meet the new safety qualifications and ensure optimal operation. Despite the troubles ushered in by the nuclear industry, these power plants remain a dependable energy source for many countries.