The only real comparison between a nuclear navy reactor and commercial
generation reactor are the words "nuclear" and "reactor". The designs
and operational constraints are worlds apart -- the naval reactor has
far more operational flexibility owing to the unique demands of the
But, the point is valid, reactors can run at any power level.
And to clarify, that capability was _NOT_ owing to something
specifically different in the reactor design itself but was almost
entirely owing to a far more advanced integrated control system that
incorporated the entire plant into its load management. At the time
competitor designs used separate control subsystems that had only very
loose cross-ties between the reactor primary controls and the
turbine-generator controls, for example.
The point being there was nothing unique or limiting in the actual
reactor itself that prevented load-follow control and maneuvering; it
was all in how well the ICS was tuned and whether the control system was
designed with sufficient capability to make even theoretically possible.
There were ramp rates established, of course, and they were slower than
a specifically-designed load-following gas turbine by quite a lot, but
the plants were designed for and could be operated as load-following units.
There's virtually no difference in the secondary systems between a
fossil generation unit of equivalent size and a nuclear unit as far as
The highest efficiency fossil units are what are termed "supercritical"
boilers that run the boiler output above the critical point of water.
These units can beat the best conventional boilers by a few percentage
points on thermal efficiency owing to that higher initial
PWRs are roughly comparable to conventional fossil units but generally a
few points lower thermal efficiency; BWRs are slightly lower yet. These
are limitations on the outlet temperatures achievable by the designs and
the designs of the steam generators.
BWRs are limited to steam temperatures right at saturation temperature
of the reactor since they generate steam by letting the primary coolant
boil (hence the name). PWRs, otoh, outlet superheated water at higher
pressure (typically ~2250psia) to a secondary steam generator. This
allows them to generate slightly higher temperature steam and, in the
case of OTSG (once-through steam generators) actually generate as much
as 40-50F of steam superheat. As does the higher temperature for the
supercritical fossil boiler over the conventional, this higher
temperature gives them a slight advantage over the BWR. The
disadvantage as compared to the BWR is one of initial cost/size as they
eliminate the secondary system. The advantage of the PWR is that once
the system is built the extra efficiency is there for the life of the plant.
I'm not that bit into web sites -- I'd recommend the NRC and ANS sites
for general level information on nuclear generation. You might look at
some of the universities w/ nuclear engineering programs -- NC State and
K-State (now part of the Mechanical Department) and see if they have any
information--I've not looked at any recently. DOE has some information
but I've not looked at other than the production data recently so don't
know what level it is.
Brought to you by the United States Department of Energy:
The last large-scale volcanic eruption in the Yucca Mountain area was 12
million years ago. Smaller eruptions from volcanic cones, lava seepage, and
ash, stopped 80,000 years ago.
"Yucca Mountain is not in an area where continental plates meet, nor is it
located near any volcanic hot spots. In fact, experts consider the Yucca
Mountain region one of the least active volcanic fields in the western
If the entire contents of the Yucca Mountain facility were converted to ash
and "spread over the entire planet," this would expose humans to
radioactivity less than that of a dental X-ray.
Besides, what's the worst that could happen, given Nevada is made up mostly
A search uncovered for "Scandinavia wind farm"
Wind Farm ↓ Location ↓ MW
Hornberget Västerbotten. Sweden 10
Håcksta Hälsingland, Sweden 10
Total MW: 20.0
Wow! 10 whole MW of _installed_capacity_.
That typically is probably producing about 5-6 MW effective over the year.
I don't know where there's a European repository of data such as that at
the US EIA site -- that may take some digging in order to find out what
actual generation is. It ain't enough in total for a 1 million
population even if it were capable of running at full capacity, though.
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