Discover the Largest Nuclear Power Plant in Pennsylvania (And What Lives Around It)

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Published: September 15, 2023
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Roughly 20% of the electricity utilized in the United States is produced by nuclear reactors. The most frequently used element in nuclear reactors in power stations is uranium. Fission, the splitting of uranium atoms, is the process that yields nuclear energy. 

Heat is the primary kind of energy released during fission. Steam is produced by this heat and utilized to spin a steam turbine. An electric generator that produces electricity is attached to the turbine.

Pennsylvania has multiple nuclear power plants. With nine nuclear reactors at five nuclear power plants, Pennsylvania has the second-largest nuclear power capacity in the entire nation. 

Today we’ll be talking about the Peach Bottom Power Plant. Let’s take a look at the interesting facts about this plant, the residents around it, and the wildlife and call it home. 

How Much Power Does Peach Bottom Create?

Gas turbine electrical power plant with in Twilight power for factory energy concept.

There are 54 power plants throughout the United States.


The two reactors at Peach Bottom that are now in operation constitute a crucial component of the area’s electrical grid. For the whole state of Pennsylvania, they can meet 10% of the peak consumption.  

Because of advancements made to turbines, pumps, instruments, and other parts, power production is more than 23% more than it was when the reactors first started operating. Nuclear power reactors across the country have increased their capacity by about 8,000 megawatts, boosting their output without needing to increase their footprints.

Every reactor requires refueling every two years, which takes around three weeks. The reactors have had just one unplanned shutdown together over the past seven years. They operate more than 90% of the time each year. 

Reactors now frequently work better than they did when they were initially built since they were only used for around 60% of the time in a year.

How Old is the Peach Bottom Power Plant?

Working at refinery oil production platform.
Exelon Corporation

 is the country’s leading competitive energy provider.

©Smederevac/iStock via Getty Images

In 1974, Peach Bottom two and three began their operation. The first license for the second unit and the third one both ran out in 2013. Each received 20-year extensions, and Exelon Corp. filed for additional 20-year extensions after that. 

One of the first facilities that will undergo the second license extension procedure will be Peach Bottom. The nuclear industry is driven by innovation; while in operation, plants are constantly updated with the newest technology and inspected for optimum performance. 

A longer license would postpone the requirement for building a new power plant elsewhere and enable Peach Bottom to keep providing carbon-free energy well into the 21st century. 

Living Near Peach Bottom Power Plant

Aerial view over the neighborhoods and streets of Philadelphia PA USA

Philadelphia is 148 square miles.

©Real Window Creative/

Most of the region close to the plant is made up of open fields and other agricultural areas. Four miles away and home to about 750 people, Delta Borough, PA, is the closest town. The factory is located about 65 miles west of Philadelphia, PA, and 30 miles north of Baltimore, MD. 

The closest city with a population of over 25,000 is Lancaster, PA, which is about 20 miles north of the facility and has a population of roughly 56,000.

Inside Peach Bottom Power Plant

nuclear power plant under construction

Each power plant is unique inside and out, based on that areas energy requirements.


In a rural area of southern York County, amidst farms and small towns, is where the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station is located. The Peach Bottom facility and the operational reactor at Three Mile Island are both owned by Exelon. 

It additionally operates the Limerick Generating Station in Montgomery County. The owners recently gave a tour of the nuclear power plant inside as they await for their license to be renewed. Exelon representatives concentrated on the way the Peach Bottom plant affects consumers, employees, locals, and the environment in general. 

While in operation, nuclear power reactors don’t emit any carbon dioxide or other types of air pollution. Even while representatives of the nuclear industry emphasize all the safety safeguards and laws that are in place, the prospect of a catastrophe still looms big in the debate over nuclear energy.

Currently, 89 huge white containers holding used fuel are located on a storage site at Peach Bottom. There are 92 container spaces on a storage pad. The Peach Bottom facility has enough area to add more storage, but the operators would like to see the wasted petroleum transferred somewhere else.

Wildlife Near the Peach Bottom Nuclear Power Plant

Sleepiest Animals – Little Brown Bat

Never approach a bat in the wild or in your home.

©Ondrej Prosicky/

There is a plethora of wildlife in York County, PA. Near the power plant, you might see a variety of mammals including:

  • Chipmunks
  • Coyotes
  • Black bears
  • Porcupines
  • River otters
  • White-tailed deer
  • Opossums

There are also little brown bats, wild turkeys, foxes, and beavers roaming the land. You can spot these animals in their natural habitat at places like Nixon Nature Center. Zoo America and Lake Tobias Wildlife Park are also excellent places to see a variety of wild animals

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Eder/

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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