Energy Economy

This Is America's Biggest Nuclear Power Plant

According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, there are 93 nuclear power plants in 28 states. Nuclear power has fallen out of favor in the United States, primarily because of the partial meltdown of the plant at Three Mile Island in 1979.

Nuclear power could return as a growing source of plentiful green energy as it has in Europe. Shortages of crude, which have driven it to over $100 a barrel, have made alternative sources to supply power to homes and industries attractive. Newer plants are considered much safer than Three Mile Island, which makes nuclear power an even more attractive, major source of energy.

Nuclear plants do offer carbon-free energy production. Unlike some renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, nuclear plants provide reliable output. Nuclear plants are also powerful and generate electricity about 8,000 times more efficiently than fossil-fuel-powered plants. Currently, the active nuclear reactors in the United States account for about 19% of the country’s total energy production.

Using data from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s most powerful nuclear power plant. Plants are ranked on the combined maximum output of their reactors.

Every power plant on the list has an estimated maximum power generation capacity of at least 1.97 gigawatts and generates that with relatively little space. Wind farms, for example, require 360 times more land area than a nuclear power plant to produce the same amount of electricity.

America’s biggest nuclear power plant is Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. Here are the details:

  • Electricity production capacity: 3,937 megawatts
  • Number of nuclear reactors: 3
  • Location: Wintersburg, Arizona (50 miles west of Phoenix)
  • Start of commercial operations: Jan. 28, 1986

To identify America’s most powerful nuclear power plant, 24/7 Wall St. looked at the combined capacity of electricity production in megawatts produced by nuclear power plants across the country, according to the NRC. Megawatt energy in electricity, the location of each nuclear power plant and the number of reactors that contribute to the final megawatt output come from the NRC. All data is current as of 2021.

Click here to see all of America’s biggest nuclear power plants.

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