Electric grids are volatile: As there's close to no storage capacity, power in must equal power out all the time. One part of the management toolset is the various power sources attached to a grid. For the most part, it's relatively straight forward to find some "characteristics" governing these:
- Predictable cycles, like day/night for solar. (or tides, winter/summer, dry/wet seasons, etc.)
- Irregular patterns with some degree of forecasts, like wind for wind power and clouds for solar.
- Short therm buffering, like heat in thermal power plants.
- Quick response ramping up and down, like hydroelectric power with magazines and diesel generators.
What these have in common is that they are intuitive and governed by readily accessible physics. Nuclear power is not intuitive. While it's certainly possible to read up, it quickly becomes a journey down the rabbit hole of isotope burnoff, half-lives and an endless sea of details so deep there's little hope of understanding what the end result of it all is.
Nevertheless, I have tried to extract some general "characteristics" from what I have read:
- Some nuclear power plants can do "load following", adjusting power production within minutes or even seconds. Those are apparently more costly to develop, and the majority of existing power plants are not capable of this.
- Most reactors can ramp production up or down over single and double digit hour periods, adapting to for example peak daytime demands.
- Nuclear powerplants are thermal power plants, so they can make use of the same short-thermal buffering of heat.
- There are significant technological differences between nuclear power plants, so their characteristics may be varied.
I am looking for characteristics at the most coarse level such as these (if they are even correct?)