Nuclear energy in the United States

Continuing exploration with iPython, below is a quick analysis of energy sources in the United States, and then a deeper dive into Nuclear energy. Also, for those interested, here is the full iPython notebook where the charts were generated.

Number of generators by energy source

The below chart simply shows the # of generators for each energy source, natural gas having the most generators (though they are not the #1 contributor to energy)

NumGenerators_byenergysource

Average capacity per generator

Next, we can see that nuclear generators far and away contain the most capacity on a per generator basis.

Average+capacity+per+generator

 

US electricity production, by generation source

Curious to see how the n-count + capacity of different generators in the US compared to the actual energy contribution, I pulled the following chart from energyliteracy.com.

 

electricityproductionhistorical

As you can see, Coal, Petroleum, Natural Gas, Nuclear, and Hydroelectric are the top contributors of electricity in the US.

Total nuclear capacity by state

I was impressed with the amount of electricity still produced by nuclear plants despite their poor PR game, and decided to do a deeper dive regarding where this nuclear capacity was coming from.

NuclearCapacity_byState

Answer: Illinois and Pennsylvania

There are 61 commercially operating nuclear power plants with 99 nuclear reactors in 30 states in the United States. Illinois has 6 plants with 11 reactors, while Pennsyvlania has 5 plants with 7 active reactors. Together, the two states supply ~18% of the nuclear energy produced in the US.

Net capacity by state (interactive map)

The interactive map below (created using plotly) shows the net capacity in thousand megawatt hours by state:

 

 

 

 

While the future of nuclear power isn’t extremely bright in the US (energy contribution as a % of total has been steady the last 10+ years), most existing plants and reactors are continually being either maintained to keep existing capacity or upgraded to improve upon existing capacity. Additionally, there are plans to build at least 5 additional nuclear reactors between now and 2020.

The main source for the data can be found here.