The Wolfram|Alpha Blog is now part of the Wolfram Blog. Join us there for the latest on Wolfram|Alpha and other Wolfram offerings »
Zebadiah Smith

Explore the World’s Nuclear Power Infrastructure with Wolfram|Alpha

May 4, 2011 —
Comments Off

In light of the accident at the nuclear facility in Fukushima, Japan following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, there has been an increased interest about nuclear power and nuclear reactors worldwide. Due to the desire for factual information about this important topic, we have added data on commercial nuclear power reactors—based on information from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—to Wolfram|Alpha.

The IAEA’s database has information on all of the world’s commercial nuclear power plants, including those currently operating, those that have been shutdown, and reactors under construction. Ask Wolfram|Alpha for “all nuclear reactors”, and it is evident that nuclear power is a widely used source of electrical energy.

All nuclear reactors

Clicking one of the reactors in the table (Kewaunee, for example) shows all the data available for the nuclear reactor, including its location; owner and operator; performance parameters; a list of nearby cities; and important dates, such as when construction started and when commercial operation began.


Relevant performance values are provided in the “Power generation” pod. Energy production is the total amount of electrical power supplied by the nuclear reactor in the most recent year. The energy availability factor is the percentage of net electrical energy available after accounting for losses during the year; the load factor reflects the fraction of the theoretical maximum power actually provided to the electrical grid. Time on line and the operational factor indicate how much of the year the reactor was actually online and producing electricity. The values shown are for the most recent year, along with lifetime totals and averages for these values, calculated by Wolfram|Alpha. Click the “Show history” button, and Wolfram|Alpha provides graphs showing how the yearly and cumulative values have changed over the life of the reactor.

Kewaunee history

We can further investigate these operational parameters with Wolfram|Alpha. Ask Wolfram|Alpha about the most powerful nuclear reactors or the reactors with the highest lifetime load factor. Wolfram|Alpha can also make comparisons between specific reactors, such as comparing the “energy availability factor of Diablo Canyon 2 versus Palo Verde 1”.

Energy availability factor of Diablo Canyon 2 versus Palo Verde 1

In addition to providing specific information about a single reactor, often there are several reactors constructed at the same site. The “Dresden nuclear power station”, for example, has three boiling water reactors onsite.

Dresden nuclear power station

And for those curious about the history of nuclear power, the Dresden-1 nuclear reactor is among the “oldest US nuclear reactors”:

Oldest US nuclear reactors

Or, if you are more interested in the future of nuclear power, ask Wolfram|Alpha about “nuclear reactors under construction”:

Nuclear reactors under construction

These are just a few examples of how Wolfram|Alpha allows us to explore the IAEA’s database of commercial nuclear power reactors, providing users an easily accessible and reputable source of knowledge at a time when there is considerable interest and concern about the subject.


Hmm, too bad you can’t do something like:
Nuclear reactors near New York City

Posted by BobTheCoolGuy May 5, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Nuclear Power Reactors and you get a map showing 837.
    In the top rh corner of the map is a button
    Show Coordinates
    Click on it and keep telling W|A to take more time.
    IIt lists the coordinates of all of them.
    So all you have to do is ask it to reduce the list to the range required.
    Probably won’t work yet but W|A is supposed to give computative results so so a feed back using the feedback facility at the bottom of the output.

    Posted by Brian Gilbert May 6, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Nuclear Reactors in New York State. The list is down to 8. Should help things a bit.

    Posted by Erik VanderWerf May 9, 2011 at 9:59 am

Great Info. How about including the nuclear reactor incidents (with INES scale) as dataset? That woudl allow interesting question like: Ratio of INES5 or higher incidents per active reactor

Posted by Marc May 6, 2011 at 5:12 am

Queries that don’t work but should:
nuclear reactors in europe
european nuclear reactors
france versus germany nuclear reactors
german nuclear reactors vs. france
german active nuclear reactors -> give a world map instead of a map of Germany
I don’t understand why those things don’t work, since they’re all easier to implement than the advanced functions W|A already has about nuclear plants.

Posted by Lazza May 14, 2011 at 6:29 am

I’d like to see data concerning amount of nuclear material used per year and any other relevant material consumption information

Posted by Benjamin May 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Hey, where/ how can I know more about underground nuclear power plants?

Posted by Etienne November 17, 2011 at 8:44 am