Frequently Asked Questions

How much electricity does a nuclear power plant generate?

As of December 1, 2017, there were 99 operating nuclear reactors at 61 nuclear power plants in the United States. The R. E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in New York is the smallest nuclear power plant in the United States, and it has one reactor with an electricity generating capacity1 of 582 megawatts (MW). The Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Arizona is the largest nuclear power plant in the United states with three reactors and a total electricity generating capacity1 of about 3,937 MW.

The amount of electricity that a power plant generates over a period of time depends on the amount of time it operates at a specific capacity. For example, if the R. E. Ginna reactor operates at 582 MW capacity for 24 hours, it will generate 13,968 megawatthours (MWh). Most power plants do not operate a full capacity every hour of every day of the year. However, nuclear power reactors generally operate at or near their rated generating capacity throughout the year and have relatively high annual capacity factors.

1Net summer capacity.

Learn more:
What is the difference between electricity generation capacity and electricity generation?
Capacity factors for utility scale generators primarily using fossil fuels
Capacity factors for utility scale generators not primarily using fossil fuels
U.S. nuclear generation and generating capacity (historical monthly capacity and generation by state and reactor)
Nuclear energy (historical monthly and annual data on the total number of U.S nuclear reactors, electricity capacity and generation, and capacity factors)
U.S. Nuclear Industry
Nuclear Power Plants

Last updated: December 12, 2017


Other FAQs about Nuclear

On This Page:

Coal

Conversion & Equivalents

Diesel

Electricity

Environment

Gasoline

General Energy

Natural Gas

Nuclear

Oil/Petroleum

Prices

Renewables

Full list of upcoming reports

Sign up for email notifications

Get the What's New RSS feed

Didn't find the answer to your question? Ask an energy expert.

(required)