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2018-08-17 11:50:00

GLOBAL NUCLEAR POWER UP

GLOBAL NUCLEAR POWER UP

WNAWorld Nuclear Performance Report 2018

Nuclear Industry Performance

Global highlights

Nuclear reactors generated a total of 2506 TWh of electricity in 2017, up from 2477 TWh in 2016. This is the fifth successive year that nuclear generation has risen, with output 160 TWh higher than in 2012.

In 2017 the total net capacity of nuclear power in operation was 394 GWe, up from 391 GWe in 2016. These figures are higher than the end of year capacity as they includes those reactors that were closed during each year. The global capacity at the end of 2017 was 392 GWe, up from 390 GW in 2016.

Usually only a small fraction of operable nuclear capacity does not generate electricity in a calendar year. However, since 2011, most of the Japanese reactor fleet has been awaiting restart. Two reactors restarted in 2017 and more are expected in 2018. The net capacity of nuclear plant that generated electricity in 2017 was 352 GWe.

In 2017, nuclear generation rose in Asia and East Europe & Russia. Generation declined in West & Central Europe. These changes continued the trends of recent years.

Generation fell marginally in North America. Generation also declined in South America and Africa, although output in those regions is determined by a relatively small number of reactors and has remained little changed over the past ten years.

At the end of 2017 there were a total of 448 operable reactors, up one from the end of year figure for 2016. The PWR continues to be the predominant reactor type in use, with all four reactors connected to the grid and four construction starts being based on PWR technology.

 

Operational performance

Capacity factors in this section are based on the performance of those reactors that generated electricity during each calendar year. For reactors that were grid connected or permanently shut down during a calendar year their capacity factor is calculated on the basis of their performance when operational.

In 2017, the global average capacity factor was 81.1%, up from 80.5% for 2016. This maintains the high level of performance seen since 2000 following the substantial improvement seen over the preceding years. In general, a high capacity factor is a reflection of good operation performance. However, there is an increasing trend in some countries for nuclear reactors to operate in a load-following mode.

Capacity factors for different types of reactor are broadly consistent with the average achieved in the preceding five years. Greater variation is seen in those reactor types represented by a smaller number of reactors.

Capacity factors are also broadly consistent with the average achieved in the preceding five years for reactors in the same regions. The greatest variation is seen in regions represented by a smaller number of reactors.

There is no significant age-related trend in nuclear reactor performance. The mean capacity factor for reactors over the last five years shows no significant variation regardless of their age.

The global average capacity factor has remained fairly constant over the last 15 years and there has been no significant change to the spread of capacity factors across the fleet either. While the highest capacity factors are usually considered optimal, an increasing number of reactors are operating in a load-following mode, resulting in lower annual capacity factors.

There has been ongoing improvement in the proportion of reactors reaching higher capacity factors over the last 40 years. For example, 64% of reactors achieved a capacity factor higher than 80% in 2017, compared to 25% in 1977, whereas only 6% of reactors had a capacity factor below 50% in 2017, compared to 23% in 1977.

Five reactors were shut down in 2017. The reactors in Germany and South Korea closed as a result of the current nuclear policy in those countries. Santa Maria De Garoña, in Spain, and Monju, in Japan, had not been operating for several years and were deemed in long-term shutdown prior to their permanent closure, so the number of reactors generating in 2017 that closed down totalled three.

 

New construction

With four construction starts, two reactor construction cancellations and four reactors being grid connected, the total number of reactors under construction fell by two to 59 over the course of 2017.

The four construction starts in 2017 are listed in Table 4.

 

Most reactors currently under construction started construction within the last ten years. A small number of reactors have been formally under construction for a longer period. For example, Mochovce 3&4 in Slovakia started construction in 1987, but work was suspended in 1991. The project was restarted in 2008 and is expected to be completed before 2020. The shutdown reactor in Figure 10 that started construction in 1986 is the Japanese Monju FNR, which closed in 2017.

 

In 2017 four reactors were grid connected and five were permanently shut down, although two of these were previously in long-term shutdown.

 

Three of the four reactors connected to the grid in 2017 were constructed in China, with the other reactor, Chashma unit 4, a reactor supplied by China and constructed and grid connected in Pakistan.

The median construction time was 58 months, down from 74 months in 2016, and equalling the lowest five-year median construction time achieved in 2001-2005.

 

Director General's Concluding Remarks

There is no sustainable energy future without nuclear energy. To meet the growing demand for reliable, affordable and clean electricity, we will need all low-carbon energy sources to work together.

Nuclear capacity must expand to achieve this. The nuclear industry's Harmony goal is for 25% of the world's electricity to be supplied from nuclear energy by 2050 as part of a low-carbon mix.

Much needs to be done to deliver the Harmony goal, but good progress has been made, both in terms of global reactor performance and new nuclear capacity additions.

In 2017 the average global capacity factor was 81.1%, up from 80.5% in 2016. This continues a trend of more than 20 years of high capacity factors of around 80%. Global nuclear generation also increased to 2506 TWh, up 29 TWh from 2016 and up more than 160 TWh over the last five years.

The nuclear industry's Harmony goal requires 1000 GW of new nuclear build by 2050. A path to that target is for 10 GW of nuclear capacity to be added each year between 2016-2020. 

After 2015 and 2016 each saw nearly 10 GWe of new nuclear capacity start up, a more modest 3.3 GWe was connected to the grid in 2017. However, in 2018 and 2019 more than 26 GWe of new nuclear capacity is scheduled to come online, meeting the overall target for this first five-year period.

The pace of capacity additions required to meet the Harmony goal needs to accelerate in the next decade, eventually reaching an average of 33 GWe of new nuclear capacity added each year. Action is needed to enable this acceleration to happen.

Action is needed in three key areas to allow nuclear generation to grow at its full potential. There needs to be a level playing field in energy markets, where nuclear energy is treated on equal opportunity with other low-carbon technologies and recognized for its value in a reliable, resilient low-carbon energy mix that optimizes existing low-carbon energy resources already in-place and drives investment in future clean energy. 

Harmonized regulatory processes are required in order to provide a more internationally consistent, efficient and predictable nuclear licensing regime, to facilitate significant growth of nuclear capacity, without compromising safety and security. 

And there needs to be an effective safety paradigm focusing on genuine public wellbeing, where the health, environmental and safety benefits of nuclear are better understood and valued when compared with other energy sources.

Governments are now renewing their recognition of the importance of nuclear energy in achieving a sustainable low carbon energy supply. The launch of the Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future (NICE Future) initiative at the Clean Energy Ministerial in May 2018 put nuclear energy back on an even footing with other low-carbon solutions already discussed within the Clean Energy Ministerial process. The NICE Future initiative will play a crucial role in multilateral dialogue and engagement of policymakers on the role of nuclear energy as part of a low-carbon mix contributing to sustainable development.

This worldwide political recognition needs to apply to our existing reactors, as well as supporting new build. In the USA measures have been taken to maintain operation of reactors facing challenging market conditions. While efforts to maintain the country's nuclear generation are welcome they fail to address fundamental inequities in the US electricity markets. More wide-ranging reforms are needed to ensure all forms of generation in the USA can compete fairly on their merits, with appropriate recognition of the clean and reliable generation from nuclear reactors.

 Japan reaffirmed its target for nuclear energy to supply 20-22% of the country's electricity by 2030. There continues to be steady progress in the restart of reactors in Japan. In 2017 Takahama 3&4 became the fourth and fifth reactors to restart and a further four reactors have also restarted. In addition, the next steps are being taken towards completing the construction of the first new reactors, at the Shimane nuclear power plant, since the Fukushima accident. These developments are welcome, but the pace of restarts needs to increase if Japan is going to achieve its goal for nuclear generation. Failing to meet this objective could jeopardize Japan's ability to meet its climate change targets.

With more than 40 reactors in operation and 15 under construction, China continues to play a key role in the development of nuclear energy. This year has seen the grid connection of the first EPR and AP1000 reactors, as well as the ongoing construction of the first of its own Hualong One reactors. China recently committed to start construction of six-to-eight new reactors in 2018. Nuclear energy will have a vital role to play in China's efforts to improve air quality and meet the needs of its growing economy.

New countries are choosing nuclear energy to meet their future energy needs because of the many benefits that it will bring. Nuclear new build will offer opportunities for host country supply chain businesses to participate in the construction of the reactors. Host regions can benefit from investment in local infrastructure. Many jobs will be created, both during construction and operation of the plant.

Construction started in 2017 on the first nuclear power plant to be built in Bangladesh. Building works also began at Akkuyu in Turkey on its first nuclear power plant, with construction of the first reactor beginning in April 2018. We also saw progress made in Egypt with an agreement signed in December for the construction of four VVER-1200 reactors at El Dabaa. 

In 2017 nuclear plants brought benefits to local communities, supported national economies and helped meet our growing global need for clean and reliable electricity. Through our Harmony programme we are outlining the steps needed to allow nuclear generation to make its full contribution to our sustainable energy future.

Status Update to 31 July 2018

-----

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