Nukes & Firewood

Want to replace nukes with firewood?
All it would take is three million cords per year.

... and that's a lot of wood
A large nuclear power plant typically produces 1000 megawatts of electricity, but because of the inefficiency of converting heat to work (as with coal, oil, or gas-fired units) requires 3000 MW of input heat power.  If the plant runs around the clock for a year, the energy input is equivalent to about 3 million cords of hardwood and the electrical energy delivered to the consumer is equivalent to 1 million cords of hardwood.

A cord of wood is a four-foot-high, eight-foot long stack of four-foot logs.  A million cords would make a stack 8 million feet --- about 1500 miles long.

Or, if the one million cords were stacked 160 feet wide by 400 feet long, so as to fill a football stadium, it would make a stack 8000 feet high.

But if you want electricity from the wood, you'll have the same thermal inefficiency of converting heat to work as with any other such unit, so you'll need three million cords...

 To main Energy Advocate Index 
The Energy Advocate


Copyright © The Energy Advocate 1999. All rights reserved.