Friday, January 24, 2003

The North Korean nuke plant

Here is a story about the North Korean nuclear power plant that has received all the attention.

Note that it is 5 MW. Five scuzzy megawatts. For contrast, consider a plant such as the never-completed Bellefonte unit in northwestern AL. It was to have provided 1300 MW per unit. It had 4 diesel generators for standby power of about 7.6 MW each.

Got that? One modern American nuke site has more than 4 times as much power onsite just for backup power. Yeah, it's for power alright.

The story also says it uses graphite, like Chernobyl. I'm not a reactor designer, but I'll note that graphite normally is used in reactors intended for more than just power generation.

I don't have any time right now, but I'll see if I can't dig up more later.

UPDATE: Per my comments, it's 5MW thermal. I had assumed that it was 5MW electrical out of the generator, so it's significantly smaller than I thought. (You don't swap heat for juice 1 for 1 - thermal is like beef on the hoof and electrical is the resulting steaks and hamburger).

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