Switzerland’s five commercial nuclear reactors generated 20.3TWh of electricity in 2016, down 1.8TWh on the previous year, Swiss nuclear industry trade association Swissnuclear said on 24 February.
Overall, nuclear energy’s contribution to total Swiss electricity generation in 2016 decreased by 8.6% compared with 2015. Swissnuclear said the generation results were lower than expected because of prolonged outages and safety inspections at the Leibstadt nulcear plant and Beznau 1. The average time availability of the Swiss reactor fleet was 68.3% in 2016, while in 2015 it was 70.1%. Beznau 2 was online 96.5% of the time in 2016. The single unit Gösgen, and Mühleberg NPPs were online 93.7%, and 92.9% of the time, respectively. Leibstadt’s availability was 58.6% in 2016, while Beznau 1 was offline all year.
Beznau 1 is the world’s oldest operating commercial reactor unit, starting operation in September 1969. It went offline in 2015 for a major planned overhaul, but later came under the scrutiny of the Swiss nuclear regulator over the possible presence of abnormalities in the carbon concentration of steel in some essential reactor components, produced at Areva’s Le Creusot forge facility in France and at Japan Casting and Forging Corporation in Japan. The single-unit Leibstadt plant has been in prolonged maintenance outage since August 2016 over suspected oxidation problems on the cladding material of some fuel rods. The unit was cleared for a conditional restart earlier in February.