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Nuclear Power By the Numbers

Feb 19, 2010 - Katie Fehrenbacher -

With all of the attention on nuclear power this week — due both to the $8.3 billion in loan guarantees awarded to build the first nuclear plants in the U.S. in almost three decades, as well as the attention Bill Gates is paying to nuclear project TerraPower — we’ve been mulling over the numbers for nuclear. There’s some very big numbers (it’s one of the most expensive clean power technologies out there) and some smaller figures (there’s been a recent industry focus on small reactors).

Here’s a look at nuclear power by the numbers — from big to small — with figures courtesy of the Energy Information Administration, the Wall Street Journal, Greentech Media and the Nuclear Energy Institute.

$54 billion: The proposed amount for federal loan guarantees for nuclear power reactors by the Obama administration.

$10 billion: How much a large nuclear reactor can cost to build.

$8.3 billion: The amount of the U.S. federal loan guarantee for the first two nuclear power plants built in the U.S. in 30 years.

$750 million: An average cost for a small nuclear reactor.

$25 million: The cost of Hyperion Power Generation’s nuclear battery reactor.

$4,000-$6,000: The capital costs (per kilowatts electrical (kWe)) to build a nuclear reactor.

1,000 MW: The amount of power that an average nuclear reactor delivers.

700-1,000: The amount of permanent jobs created by building a large nuclear reactor.

125-140 megawatts of power: The amount of power that can be produced by a small nuclear reactor.

104: The number of nuclear plants operating in the U.S.

100: The number of nuclear reactors planned and under construction in Asia-Pacific region.

80 percent: The amount of France’s power supply made up by nuclear.

15 feet by 60 feet: The size of nuclear startup NuScale’s reactor.

20.2 percent: The amount of the U.S. power supply made up by nuclear, according to the Energy Information Administration.

6 years: Minimum amount of time it will take before the next wave of nuclear reactors will come online in the U.S.

5 feet by 5 feet: About the size of Hyperion’s nuclear battery — the size of a hotub.

0: The amount of carbon emissions nuclear power releases.

For More on Greentech from GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

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Image courtesy of exquisitur’s photostream Flickr Creative Commons.


Updated: 2016/06/30

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