Have You Ever Witnessed a Nuclear Reactor Starting Up? Here it is!

Posted by: Jeremy Patterson on 11/17/2021

Having grown up just a few short miles from Brown’s Ferry Nuclear plant, the source of energy for nearly two million homes in the southeastern United States, I have been pretty comfortable with nuclear power all of my life. However, I have to admit I don’t know much about how the plants work other than the basics we were taught on field trips through the plant during elementary school. I’ve certainly never seen inside a reactor itself, at least not until now.

Thanks to this footage, taken inside the reactor of the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor, we get a great first-person view of the fuel rods being lifted from their case and beginning to glow a brilliant bluish glow that is much more relaxing than the typical bright green usually associated with nuclear reactions, thought admittedly that association comes from years of seeing anything “nuclear” depicted with that trademark green glow on TV and in movies.

The reactor runs up to a full one megawatt of power before shutting down. Though it may look intense, one megawatt is only a fraction of what this unit will likely be capable of producing once it’s brought up to full operating capacity. To put this in perspective, Browns Ferry produces nearly 3,300 megawatts of power, approximately 3,000 times more powerful than what we see in this video. Maybe I can talk somebody here into dropping a camera into the reactors and seeing what they look like at full load.