Tutorial:Nuclear Power

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Experimental-Only Content: This information has been updated to the V2.X version of IC².
The most recent version of IC² is V2.8.221.


Before reading this tutorial, you need to be informed that the damage of an exploded reactor is often exaggerated here and a properly designed nuclear reactor in IC2 is completely safe even to put inside your home (unless someone messed up the components inside).

Nuclear Physics 101

Welcome, to the Industrial Craft School of Nuclear-arity!
Here, we shall give some tips and tricks to avoid turning your shiny new home into a melted slag heap!

Further Reading

Nuclear reactors are very valuable, have enormous energy-producing potential, and without a doubt have a steep learning curve.

A complete breakdown of how each reactor component works is available on the IC2 forum, or on the Nuclear Reactor page of the wiki.

Step 1: Finding Uranium Ore

Uranium ore.png

There is no easy way to find Uranium Ore short of mining, mining, mining. It appears randomly in very small veins, and has been seen on the surface at sea level. It also appears rarely in the walls of caverns. It must be mined with an Iron or better Pickaxe.

Step 2: My First Reactor(tm)

The Chernobyl-4 Nuclear Reactor is expensive to build, relying as it does on hard-to-obtain elements like Glowstone and Dense Lead Plates. Don't expect to build one in your first week.

If you think you have the material to make one, then let's do it!

Advanced materials you will need:

Wait... what? Reactor chambers? What on Earth? It's the core of the nuclear reactor, containing all your precious reactor components and fuel. Well, hopefully containing it... more on that later.

First you'll need 12 Lead Plates for the Reactor Chambers. You can then use these to build your 3 Reactor Chambers:

Grid Lead Plate.png

Grid Lead Plate.png
Grid Machine.png
Grid Lead Plate.png

Grid Lead Plate.png

Grid Reactor Chamber.png

Almost there!

Grid Lead Plate.png
Grid RE Battery (Charged).png
Grid Dense Lead Plate.png

Lead Plate

Lead Plate

  • Note: You have to Compress 9 Lead at once.

Using the Generator, Advanced Circuit, some Dense Lead Plates and your new Reactor Chambers, craft the wonder that is the Chernobyl-4 Nuclear Reactor:

Grid Dense Lead Plate.png
Grid Reactor Chamber.png
Grid Dense Lead Plate.png
Grid Advanced Circuit.png
Grid Reactor Chamber.png
Grid Generator.png
Grid Dense Lead Plate.png
Grid Reactor Chamber.png
Grid Dense Lead Plate.png
Grid Nuclear Reactor.png

Congratulations! World Domination is a step closer to reality!

Step 3: Finding Your 3-Mile Island

Siting your Nuclear Reactor is crucial! Proximity and Containment is key here.

These two considerations are interdependent- heavily shielding a reactor with carefully placed Reinforced Stone means it can be safely sited quite close to your precious mansion/fortress/hobbithole; whereas an unshielded reactor should be sited far, far away from anything and everything you hold dear.

Step 4: Cooling

Cooling is absolutely vital. You will need to build and install components into the reactor to keep it cool; an overheating reactor will ruin your day. See the Nuclear Reactor page for a complete breakdown of heating and cooling in nuclear systems.

Step 5: The Green Glow

At this point, you should have a complete reactor, ideally situated inside a reinforced stone tank of water. No time for congratulations, though... we need fuel for the beast! Raw Uranium ore simply will not do, so it's time for:

Step 6: Cells of Plenty

So, how to we process Uranium, you ask? Easy! You have to Centrifuge it into Tiny Piles of Uranium 235 and Uranium 238 and mix those in a crafting table to create Enriched Uranium. Put that in a Canning Machine with a Fuel Rod (Empty) to get a Fuel Rod (Uranium).

Grid Uranium 238.png
Grid Tiny Pile of Uranium 235.png
Grid Uranium 238.png
Grid Uranium 238.png
Grid Tiny Pile of Uranium 235.png
Grid Uranium 238.png
Grid Uranium 238.png
Grid Tiny Pile of Uranium 235.png
Grid Uranium 238.png
Grid Uranium.png

These are suitable for use in the Chernobyl-4 Nuclear Reactor, each capable of outputting incredible amounts of power!

Step 7: The Soothing Hum of Power

Reactors are capable of outputting considerable power: each Uranium Cell will output 5 EU/tick, meaning that high-output Reactors need high-level infrastructure to avoid machinery damage: HV_Transformers, MFS Units and Glass Fibre Cables are a common sight in a nuclear installation. Uranium Cells also have a considerable lifespan: each can produce between 2,000,000 to 14,000,000 EU!

Step 8: Holy Fukushima! (with apologies to the easily offended!)

If the proper precautions are taken, a Nuclear plant is as safe as a solar panel.

When things do go wrong though - they go wrong in spectacular fashion. The resultant blast of an overheated reactor will level everything in a ~30 block radius that isn't Reinforced or Obsidian. Thankfully a Reinforced Door still provides protection even when open, but be careful of siting anything in line with the power cable output from the containment vessel, as this is the one weak point in any nuclear plant.

Nuclear Physics 201

Welcome to Nuclear Physics 201. I'll be your professor for this class. While NP101 is a strongly recommended class, it is not required. At this time, please turn in your death and injury waivers.

There are 2 types of nuclear reactors, Heat (or Fluid) and EU. Contrary to what you may have heard in Nuclear Physics 101, EU does NOT output at 50% of a Heat reactor. Each reactor setup can show some RELATED jumps or dips in power, the power differences are NOT strictly 1:1, and a few EU reactors can actually do BETTER in EU mode than in Heat mode.

Required Work

First, anyone making a fluid reactor should immediately begin making distilled water.

Second, Everyone needs to download the latest IC2 Experimental Reactor Planner Beta from this location:


Reactor Setup

Both an EU reactor and a Heat Reactor have a "reactor grid" to place components to generate heat or EU, and to remove the heat. A Heat Reactor also has locations to place and remove coolant, on each side of this grid.

Both Reactors.png

Basic reactor grid patterns are the same through either EU or Heat generation. For example, you can place a setup for an EU generating reactor directly into a fluid reactor with no errors, and vice versa. The difference you will find is you will get a different final result of EU from an EU reactor compared to a Heat Reactor.

A Heat Reactor REQUIRES a secondary cooling source. Putting a functional Heat Reactor online without enough EXTERNAL cooling will still blow up your project, no matter how well constructed the internal grid. Exploding your final project for ANY reason will fail you, so MAKE SURE you have enough secondary cooling on your Heat Reactors!

Expandable Steam Plant.png

EU Reactors

EU Reactors are simple. plug in your proper grid of parts and it'll output EU. If there's nowhere for the EU to go, it dumps it. That's not to say getting all of those resources is simple! Check the examples below to see how much material goes into making a full-size reactor.

Heat Reactors

Heat Reactors take MUCH more to put in place, both in their extra containment shell and their external cooling. A Heat Reactor is created by placing a reactor with 6 attached chambers in the center of a 5x5x5 block of Reactor Pressure Vessel blocks. You will also need one of these blocks to be a Reactor Redstone Port to turn on the reactor, one to be a Reactor Access Hatch to fill the reactor with equipment and coolant, and likely 3 to be Reactor Fluid Ports.

The external containment shell is 98 Reactor Pressure Vessel Blocks. Likely 5, but as many as 14, will need 7 more blocks each, because the special blocks take 8 RPV blocks each. So likely you will need 98+35 = 133 RPBs. RPVs take 5 lead to make 4, so you will need 5/4 of 133 in lead, or 170 Lead just to make the Containment Shell.

You will also need something like 40 Buckets of coolant. Coolant is made with either some lapis and some distilled water, or LOTS of lapis and regular water. You will also want something like 40 additional buckets of Distilled water if you are running a steam plant from this reactor; more in a moment!

So you have a reactor, and you have it contained properly, and you have it filled with all of the equipment to run a reaction and vent the heat.

DON'T TURN ON THAT REACTOR! If you haven't set up a way to carry the heat away from the reactor EXTERNALLY, you will still see it melt or blow up in a red-hot minute!

SEE Black Bordered section in Heat Reactor above.

Put a fluid ejector into a Reactor Fluid Port, and it will eject Hot Coolant into items adjacent. Pipe, Tank or direct attach to a Liquid Heat Exchanger full of heat conductors , and the LHE will change the Hot Coolant into regular coolant and output heat. Have it eject that coolant back to tanks, pipes, or directly to the reactor and you have a loop pulling heat away from the reactor.

DON'T TURN ON THAT REACTOR! If you haven't set up a way to pull the heat from the LHE, it will stop working and you will be sitting on a reactor-bomb again.

See Apparatus OUTSIDE black-bordered section in picture above, with the orange squares representing LHEs to give off heat.

The simple way to pull the heat from the reactor is a Stirling Engine. Match the squares of the LHE and Stirling Engine together, and you will get your heat used up, with a 50% EU return.

The complex way is to use a boiler and steam turbines. This is MUCH more material intensive, and takes some extra planning to make sure it works, but you get 75% of your heat as EU.


Picture above does NOT show energy storage. Reactor above will explode.

Did you make sure you are storing or using all of your EU? If you can't use or store the EU, the engines you have will stop working, then the LHEs will not be have anywhere to transfer heat, then your reactor will blow up. None of this is a factor with EU reactors, which don't care about if you can store their EU, or where their heat goes.

Once you have a proper external heat loop, and heat user, and energy storage or other product use/storage, THEN you can feel comfortable about turning on your heat reactor. I would still monitor the parts for 5-10 minutes to make sure everything is going as planned.


The diagram below shows the simulation stats you receive. The most important ones are highlighted and described.



1. Is my reactor grid set up properly? Did I stop to make more items and not put them in?

2. Did I put coolant in my reactor? Did I put enough?

3. Did I put ejectors and pullers into the Fluid Ports?

4. Did I put Heat Exchangers and ejectors into the LHEs?

5. Did I set up coolant distribution properly? Are pipes, tanks and distributors all set as they should be? Are ejectors or pullers properly placed?

6. Did I place the orange squares together, or facing the proper direction?


7. Did I place enough distilled water into the boilers?

8. Did I put turbines into the turbines? WHY ARE THE CALLED THE SAME THINGS? (Steam Kinetic Generators!)

9. Did I set up water collection? Did I put Ejectors and Pullers into proper places?

Example EU / Heat Reactors

Sure, you can play around with the grid on your own. I STRONGLY suggest using the simulator you were supposed to have obtained from the Required Work section.. For those who are trying to BLOW THEM SELVES UP or trying to make some non-stable mumbo-jumbo, you'll get no help here today. (Maybe the TA will help, he sometimes dabbles on his own time...)

If you want it in "Mark I-V" speak, all of these are Mark I's, except for one.

They are described as <FUEL & REFLECTORS>, <EU Reactor Output per tick>, <Heat Reactor Output per tick> (Heat conversion to EU), with the simulator code afterwards.

4 Quad, 320E, 1280H (75% Heat to EU = 960 EU)



2 Quad 4 Refl, 240E, 1344H (75% Heat to EU = 1008 EU)



6 Bi, 260E, 1120H (75% Heat to EU = 840 EU)



MOX, 3x Quad, 1040 EU (do not use in heat reactor, heat to 7500 for 1040EU)