Oak Ridge Maps Every Potential Nuclear Plant Site in Contiguous US

Ever wondered how much power nuclear plants could generate if one were built at every suitable location in the country? According to a project researched by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the answer turns out to be about 515 gigawatts.

To help power providers evaluate potential sites for new reactors, advanced coal plants and concentrated solar facilities, the lab created the Oak Ridge Siting Analysis for power Generation Expansion (OR-SAGE). Drawing from GIS data covering the entire contiguous U.S., it maps potential plant locations that meet a range of criteria.

Potential nuclear plant sites. Souce: ORNLFor large scale nuclear plants, those include the availability of cooling water and land. OR-SAGE also takes into account population density, protected lands, seismic activity, military bases, airports, oil pipelines, refineries, future population growth, potential changes to water availability and, to a limited extent, the potential for the use of shoreline cooling and municipal wastewater. While the report emphasizes that plant siting is generally a regional process affected by proximity to load demand and many other factors, the data will make it easier to compare and contrast different generation options in the future.

"OR-SAGE plant capacity estimate indicates that states in a significant portion of the country can support siting at least 10 GW(e) in large reactor facilities with no siting challenges," the report read.

It is available for download in its entirety from ORNL.

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