Nuclear power plant

Flanked by cooling towers, a nuclear reactor is contained inside a spherical containment building

A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is a nuclear reactor. As is typical of thermal power stations, heat is used to generate steam that drives a steam turbine connected to a generator that produces electricity. As of 2014, the International Atomic Energy Agency reports there are 450 nuclear power reactors in operation in 31 countries.[1][2]

Nuclear plants are usually considered to be base load stations since fuel is a small part of the cost of production[3] and because they cannot be easily or quickly dispatched. Their operations and maintenance and fuel costs are, along with hydropower stations, at the low end of the spectrum and make them suitable as base-load power suppliers. The cost of spent fuel management, however, is somewhat uncertain.


Electricity was generated by a nuclear reactor for the first time ever on September 3, 1948, at the X-10 Graphite Reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which was the first nuclear power station to power a light bulb.[4][5][6] The second, larger experiment occurred on December 20, 1951, at the EBR-I experimental station near Arco, Idaho.

On June 27, 1954, the world's first nuclear power station to generate electricity for a power grid, the Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant, started operations in Obninsk of the Soviet Union.[7] The world's first full scale power station, Calder Hall in England, opened on October 17, 1956.[8] The world's first full scale power station solely devoted to electricity production—Calder Hall was also meant to produce plutonium—the Shippingport Atomic Power Station—was connected to the grid on December 18, 1957.

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Kernkraftwerk
asturianu: Central nuclear
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Атамная электрастанцыя
Boarisch: Kernkroftwerk
brezhoneg: Kreizenn nukleel
Cymraeg: Atomfa
Deutsch: Kernkraftwerk
español: Central nuclear
Esperanto: Nuklea centralo
հայերեն: Ատոմակայան
íslenska: Kjarnorkuver
Limburgs: Kerncentraal
magyar: Atomerőmű
Bahasa Melayu: Kuasa nuklear
Nederlands: Kerncentrale
norsk nynorsk: Kjernekraftverk
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Atom elektr stansiyasi
Plattdüütsch: Karnkraftwark
português: Central nuclear
Simple English: Nuclear power plant
slovenščina: Jedrska elektrarna
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Nuklearna elektrana
粵語: 核電廠
Zeêuws: Kerncentraole
中文: 核电厂