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The largest nuclear power plant in the world wastes its power with seven reactors and a surreal power of 8.200 MW

15 May 2024 to 06: 30
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The largest nuclear plant in the world wastes its power with seven reactors and a surreal capacity to supply 8.200 MW
Forum: Kashiwazaki-Kariwa – dall-e

The largest nuclear power plant in the world is located in Japan. Deactivated more than a decade ago, the project was able to supply 8.200 MW and should be back up and running soon.

The largest nuclear power plant in the world, in terms of installed power, is the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, located in the city of Niigata, 368 km northwest of Tokyo, Japan. Managed by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the world's third largest electricity company, the plant incorporates seven boiling water reactors that together provide around 8.200 MW of power.

The world's largest nuclear power plant was deactivated in 2011

This nuclear power plant fell into disuse after the Fukushima central accident (in 2011), despite its very important role in Japan's electrical infrastructure. Safety is most important, and after what happened in Fukushima, the Japanese nuclear organization, Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), decided to withdraw the license for operation until the TEPCO could implement new security measures derived from what was recorded at this facility in 2011.

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Japan currently has twelve nuclear reactors in operation, but also has two more under construction and twenty-seven reactors that remain out of service at the moment. In April 2023, the Japanese government approved new nuclear energy legislation that allows it to extend the operation of nuclear power plants beyond the current limit, which is set at 60 years.

The largest nuclear plant in the world wastes its power with seven reactors and a surreal capacity to supply 8.200 MW
Photo: The largest nuclear power plant in the world/Disclosure

In practice, this simply means that if a nuclear plant can operate safely beyond those six decades, the regulation allows it.

Nuclear plant Kashiwazaki Kariwa, the biggest of the world could be back up and running soon

In this context, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa factory has a promising future ahead. This is because in December 2023 the NRA removed the veto it had imposed on this facility in March 2011 – shortly after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

This milestone is the first step towards granting the operating license, and this regulatory body decided to accept it after inspecting the nuclear plant's facilities for more than four thousand hours. According to the NRA, the company TEPCO introduced improvements in the security measures and protocols necessary for the recovery of the plant's activity.

Now we just have to wait for the Niigata regional government, which also has to give its approval to the nuclear plant facilities before it can regain its operating license. In any case, it is most likely that after the NRA's green light, the city administration will not prevent the resumption of activity at the largest nuclear plant in the world.

The largest nuclear plant in the world wastes its power with seven reactors and a surreal capacity to supply 8.200 MW
Photo: Illustration of the largest nuclear power plant in the world/dall-e

For now, TEPCO has moved quickly and has already asked the NRA to begin introducing fuel into the plant's reactors. The largest nuclear power plant in the world is close to returning.

Find out how a nuclear power plant works

The nuclear power plant works as a thermoelectric, that is, it works from the energy released by any product that can generate heat. In general, fuels such as coal, natural gas, diesel or fuel oil, for example, heat water in a boiler until generating steam of high pressure and temperature.

This steam then turns the turbines through mechanical work that is converted into electromagnetic power in the generator. In the case of nuclear plants, however, the fuel is not burned to generate steam.

The fission of uranium atoms occurs inside the rods of the fuel element, a component that contains, in a sealed form, nuclear fuel. The division of the nucleus of atoms heats the water, which passes through the reactor at a temperature of 320 °C.

In short, the steam generator then carries out a heat exchange between the waters of this first circuit and that of the secondary circuit, which are independent of each other. This heat exchange allows the water in the secondary circuit to transform into steam and move the turbine, which in turn drives the electrical generator.

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