The World Nuclear Assocation (WNA) has released their World Nuclear Performance Report 2017.Download report
[Original article published on World Nuclear Association website]
More than 9 GWe of new nuclear capacity came online in 2016, the largest annual increase for over 25 years. By the end of 2016 there were 448 reactors around the world, up from 441 at the start of the year. Ten reactors started to supply electricity and three were closed down, resulting in a net increase in nuclear capacity of just over 8 GWe. The amount of electricity supplied by nuclear globally increased by 35 TWh to 2476 TWh. This increased generation is the result of both additional generation from new reactors coming online and continued performance improvements from the existing fleet.
The number of reactors being built remains high, with 61 under construction at the end of 2016. There were only three construction starts last year and, with ten units having completed construction, the number of reactors under construction has fallen from 68 at the start of 2016. There has been a pause in new reactor construction starts in China; however, the pouring of first concrete for Tianwan 6 in September marked the resumption of reactor construction.
The first Korean-designed APR-1400, unit 3 at the Shin Kori nuclear power plant, was connected to the grid by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power in January. Construction of four APR-1400 reactors at Barakah in the United Arab Emirates continued to make good progress and the first reactor is due to startup next year. In Russia the first VVER-1200 at Novovoronezh II, was connected to the grid in August.
2016 saw the start-up of Watts Bar 2, the first reactor connected to the grid in the United States in 20 years. But it also saw continuing challenges to the operation of some reactors in deregulated markets and the ongoing construction of four reactors at VC Summer and Vogtle. More must be done to ensure nuclear plants can compete in a fair electricity market.
The process of gaining regulatory approval for the restart of reactors in Japan is proving to be protracted and extensive and some restarts have been delayed by legal challenges. However, five reactors have now restarted and a further 19 have applied to do so.
In the UK in 2016, the go-ahead was given for Hinkley Point C, the first of a planned new generation of nuclear power plants in that country. Nuclear remains the largest single source of low carbon generation in Europe, but political pressure in some countries is threatening this.
The world’s nuclear power plants have performed well this year, making a significant contribution to meeting the need for clean, reliable and affordable electricity. But more will need to be done to ensure this contribution grows as it will need to over the coming decades in order to meet the Harmony goal of supplying 25% of the world’s electricity by 2050.