Japan's Atomic Energy Commission has said that improving the capacity factor of Japanese nuclear power plants will be one of its main priorities in 2011.
Japan's collective performance of its 49 operable reactors has been hit by the shutdown of its biggest nuclear power plant, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, since the 2007 Niigata-Chu-Etsu earthquake. An analysis of load factors for all Japanese units excluding the K-K site in the 12 months to March 2010 was 75.3%, a full 75 basis points ahead of the country total of 67.8%.
However, the biggest performance-limiting factor in Japan is not earthquakes but long outage duration, according to Toshihiro Okajima, project leader at Japan Atomic Industry Forum's department of information and communication (NEI October 2010, p35).
According to the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, Inc. (JAIF), the weighted average capacity factor for Japan's nuclear power plants (NPPs) for the month of December 2010 was 67.9% (down 6.1 points year-on-year).
Other priorities will be progress in nuclear fuel cycle, raising output at the Monju FBR while continuing to develop its operational management, supporting efforts to develop radioisotopes as a strategic industry, providing public and private support to new nuclear countries, and contributing to international nuclear security.
The priorities were published in a new years statement translated and summarised in Japan Atomic Industry Forum's Atoms In Japan newswire.