Load factors to end December 2015

12 May 2016

In calendar year 2015 the 387 reactors (361.2GW) with data available generated 2269TWh of electricity, operating at an average load factor of 71.0%. The average lifetime load factor at the end of December 2015 was 72.2%. PWR design retained the spot for top lifetime performers, with an average load factor of 74.9% (see Figure 2).

Ten new units were connected to the grid in 2015 - the most since 1990. Eight of the reactors that started up are located in China, which unfortunately does not report its generating data. There was also Shin Wolsong 2 in South Korea and Beloyarsk 4, Russia's latest generation fast reactor, which was connected to the grid in December after over a decade of construction.

While we were seeing the new generation of reactors come online, 2015 saw seven older units permanently close. Magnox reactors are no more as the UK's last unit, Wylfa 1 in Wales, retired in December, after generating 151.0TWh of electricity over almost 45 years of operation. Five of Japan's reactors (Genkai 1, Mihama 1&2, Shimane 1 and Tsuruga 1), which were nearing 40 years of age, were shut down for decommissioning rather than being upgraded to meet more stringent post-Fukushima safety standards. Grafenrheinfeld in Germany closed as required by the nuclear phaseout, relinquishing its spot in the top lifetime generators table (p47), where it ranked 2nd in 2014.

Looking to the countries, the average load factors in Belgium, Sweden and Taiwan fell year on year due to reactor closures (see box for explanation). We have updated the data for the UK in the country graph (Figure 9) to reflect generation for the EDF Energy fleet and the Magnox units. Previously only the load factor for the Magnox units had been shown.

Load factors Figure 1. Trends in average annual load factor for the six main reactor types
Load factors Figure 2. Lifetime load factors for the main reactor types
Load factors Figure 3. Annual and lifetime load factors by type
Load factors Figure 4. Lifetime load factor averages by country
Load factors Figure. 5. Year-on-year comparison of annual factors by type
Load factors Figure 6. PWR and BWR average annual load factors to end December 2015 in countries with large reactor fleets
Load factors Figure 7. Year-on-year load factor comparison
Load factors Figure 8. Year-on-year load factor breakdown by population % (info. on www.facebook.com/neimagazine)
Load factors Figure 9. Trends in country average load factors (excluding countries with less than four units operating) for successive calendar years. The 2015 figures are for the 12 months to end December 2015
Load factors Table 1. Updates and major changes to the tables this quarter (end December 2015)
Load factors Table 2. Load factors to end December 2015
Load factors Table 2. Load factors to end December 2015 (cont)
Load factors Table 3. Units that had not operated for 12 months at end December 2015
Load factors Table 4. Average 12-month load factor and lifetime load factor by country to end of December 15
Load factors Table 5. Top ten lifetime electricity generators
Load factors Table 6. Top ten lifetime performers
Load factors Table 7. Top ten achievers in equivalent full-power years output
Load factors Unit by unit spotlight
Load factors The last of the UK’s magnox reactors ceased generation in 2015. Over its lifetime, Wylfa 1 achieved a load factor of 58.4%

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