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What is the response time for a nuclear power plant to respond to demand

Hi Ryan,

Usually nuclear power plants are built to supply the base load since it is more economical way of electricity production in a grid. The turbine is slave to the reactor which produces the maximum amount of power assigned by the operators. If the grid is supplied by mostly nuclear power plants, like in France and in the old times in Lithuania and Armenia, nuclear power plants have to follow load. This time the reactor is slave to the turbine and as more power is requested the turbine main steam valve opens wider allowing more steam to the turbine thus cooling the water in the steam generator. The control mechanisms of the reactor, chemical shim, control rods and circulation pumps act accordingly to increase the temperature of the coolant in the steam generators. This happens rather fast in few  seconds but the response time depends on the reactor type. If you are further interested in this subject I recommend J. Lewins, Nuclear Reactor Kinetics and Control (ISBN 0-08-021681-1 TK9202.L43 1977).

Best regards

Nuclear Power

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Osman Kemal Kadiroglu


Nuclear Engineering, Nuclear Engineering Education, Nuclear Reactors, Pebble Bed Modular Reactors, Engineering Education


Has been teaching Nuclear Engineering for more than 20 years and been in this field for more than 30 years

Organizations belong to
American Nuclear Society
Society of Nucelar Engineers of Turkey
Emeritus Prof. Nuclear Engineering Department, Hacettepe University Ankara Turkey

Extra-ordinary Prof. Nuclear Engineering Department, North-West Uni. Potchefstroom South Africa

(Mak. Y. Müh.) MS in Mech. Eng. Istanbul Technical University '68
MS in Nuclear Eng. MIT'72
Sc.D. in Nuclear Eng. MIT'76

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