OBNINSK – FIRST NUCLEAR PLANT TO PRODUCE COMMERCIAL ELECTRICITY IN 1954
First commercial electricity generated by a nuclear reactor was produced at Obninsk, Russia in 1954.
Uranium was discovered in 1789 by Martin Klaproth, a German chemist, and named after the planet Uranus. Decades later, in December 1951, at the Experimental Breeder Reactor EBR-I in Arco, Idaho, USA, for the first time electricity – illuminating four light bulbs – was produced by nuclear energy. However, EBR-I was not designed to produce electricity. On June 26, 1954, at Obninsk, Russia, the nuclear power plant APS-1 with a net electrical output of 5 MW was connected to the power grid, the world’s first nuclear power plant that generated electricity for commercial use. The science city of Obnisk is located at about 100 km southwest of Moscow. The plant produced electricity from 1954 to 2002, then was used as research and isotope production plant. For around 4 years, until the opening of the Sibirskaya Nuclear Power Station, in the city of Tomsk, Obninsk remained the only nuclear power reactor in the Soviet Union. The next Soviet nuclear power plant to be connected to their grid was Beloyarsk Unit 1 in 1964 with a capacity of 100 MW. In 1956 the first commercial nuclear power plant, Calder Hall 1, with a net electrical output of 50 MW was connected to the UK national grid. In 1958 the first commercial nuclear power plant in the United States, Shippingport Atomic Power Station, was opened. In 1964, France’s first power reactor, EDF1, was operational at Chinon, on the Loire river.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency there are currently 454 operable civil nuclear power reactors around the world, with a further 54 under construction.
TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Japan is currently the world’s largest nuclear power plant, with a net capacity of 7,965MW.
(Image: Obninsk NPP)