Load factors to end September 2012

30 January 2013



Analysis of the performance of 397 of the world's nuclear reactors to the end of September 2012. By Caroline Peachey


With over 11,000 reactors years of operation between them, the 397 reactors (372 GW) listed in these tables had together generated a total of 43,524 TWh of electricity to 30 September 2012. Their average lifetime load factor stood at 72.9%, virtually the same as at the end of the June quarter.

The average age of the units listed in our table is 28 years (mean: 27.8, median: 28.3, mode: 28.4). BWRs are the oldest reactor type, with a mean age of 30.6 years, compared with 27.7 years for a PWR and 22.5 for a PHWR. The 84 BWRs listed in our tables have operated for 1818 equivalent full power years, while the 255 PWRs have achieved almost three times this with 5268 equivalent full power years of operation. The oldest reactors of each type listed in our tables are currently Tarapur 1, an Indian BWR, aged 43.5 years, Ginna, a US PWR that will turn 43 in December, and Canada's Pickering 1, PHWR, aged 41.5. Even as the industry talks about life beyond 50 or even 60 years, these figures show that we are still some way off.

Performance over the 12 months to 30 September 2012 was down (again) on the previous quarter, (70.7% vs 72.4%). For each of the main reactor types, average performance dropped by around 20 basis points compared with the 12 months to end June 2012. For example, the average 12-month load factor for PWRs stood at 73.7% in September 2012, compared with 75.5% in June. For BWRs the corresponding figures were 60.2% vs 62.4%, and 72.6% vs 74.4% for PHWRs.

The sustained closure of most of the Japanese reactor fleet continues to impact the figures. Excluding Japanese reactors, 12-monthly load factors would be 89 basis points higher; PWRs would be 60 basis points higher and BWRs would be 150 basis points higher.

Looking more closely at individual reactors, Kalinin 2 of Russia, Maanshan 2 of Taiwan and Yonggwang 2 of South Korea all move up into the top ten for load factor over the 12 months to September 2012 from deep within Table 2. These units all had outages in the period to 2011, but had close to 100% availability in the same period in 2012.

Top five plants by 12-monthly load factor to end September2012

 
UnitCountryLoad factor (%)
Quad Cities 1USA105.1
Chinshan 2Taiwan102.3
Summer 1USA101.8
Yonggwang 3South Korea100.9
Maanshan 2Taiwan100.6

 

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Lifetime load factors for the main reactor types to end September 2012 Lifetime load factors for the main reactor types to end September 2012
Annual and lifetime load factors by type to end September 2012 Annual and lifetime load factors by type to end September 2012
Lifetime load factor averages by country to end September 2012 Lifetime load factor averages by country to end September 2012
Year-on-year comparison of annual factors by type Year-on-year comparison of annual factors by type
Year-on-year load factor comparison by percentiles Year-on-year load factor comparison by percentiles


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