Friday, June 19, 2009

From Germany to Maryland – with Love

r128634_422578 We can’t help but think that Die Welt, the German magazine, has an ulterior motive for looking at Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs plant. If they do – like knocking over Germany’s ban on new construction – they don’t reveal it. But we wonder.

Members of the Maryland Chamber’s board visited the existing 1,735-megawatt nuclear power plant, which first went online in 1975, and which is recognized internationally for its high level of performance. Calvert Cliffs Unit 2 set a world record this year for pressurized water reactors by operating non-stop for more than 692 days, and in 2008 had a record capacity factor, a measure of efficiency, of 101.37 percent.

Sterling!

In addition to helping Maryland meet its energy and climate change goals, the privately funded initiative to build a new nuclear unit would be one of the largest industrial development projects in Maryland history, resulting in 4,000 construction jobs and 400 permanent operational positions.

Golden!

The Nuclear Energy Institute estimates that nuclear power plants pay 36 percent more than the average salaries for a local area, and that the average nuclear power plant generates $430 million in sales of goods and services in the local community and almost $40 million in total labor income.

Pure platinum!

Everything said here is true and also answers to our comment yesterday that not considering the entire life of a plant in calculating the cost of it is deceptive. None-the-less, please Die Welt, we’re blushing.

Well, we could have shown the Calvert Cliffs plant, but that’s too easy. This is the Gundremmingen plant near Ulm in Germany. If the Germans don’t get cracking, they’ll have to close this plant due to the ban – and, who knows, perhaps buy electricity from France to replace what’s lost.

3 comments:

Max Epstein said...

Don't you like, get in some kind of trouble for running above full licensed capacity for an entire year? (in reference to the 101.37% 2008 capacity factor). Not that I'm calling it a close call or anything.

D Kosloff said...

Capacity factor is a measurement of commercial performance, not a comparison of reactor power to licensed reactor power level. In theory, a plant could operate at an annual 100.1% capacity factor will never allowing the reactor power to exceed 99.8% power.

Adam said...

Nuclear plants are licensed based on the reactor thermal power, not the electrical power, and they operate slightly below 100% core power.

The amount of electrical power a steam plant can produce is a function of the heat sink temperature. As a result, they can produce more power in winter than in summer. The electrical power rating used to calculate the capacity factor is based on summer conditions. As far as I know, this is also the case for coal, natural gas, etc.

As a result, a nuclear plant that operates at full power for an entire cycle will generally have a capacity factor slightly over 100%.