The 104 US commercial nuclear power plants produced a record amount of electricity in 2000, approximately 755TWh, while maintaining record high safety levels, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).
The US units achieved an all-time high average capacity factor of 86.9%, NEI said. Last year, the industry also met or exceeded all 10 Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) performance plant indicator goals. The INPO data shows: •Unplanned automatic shutdowns stood at a median value of zero per plant for the third year in a row.
•Ninety six percent of key plant safety systems met their availability goals, exceeding an industry performance for the ninth successive year. The key plant safety systems tracked by INPO are two main cooling systems and back-up power supplies.
•US nuclear plants bettered the industry’s worker safety goal for the third successive year with 0.26 industrial accidents per 200,000 work-hours. This is below the US manufacturing sector’s 1999 average of eight accidents per 200,000 work-hours.
•Unit capability factor reached 91.1%, the highest since INPO began collecting data. Unit capability factors measure the percentage of maximum electricity a plant can supply to the grid, limited only by factors within the control of plant managers.
•Collective radiation exposure to workers at both BWRs and PWRs was below the industry’s year 2000 goal for the third successive year.
NEI noted that performance data compiled by the World Association of Nuclear Operators shows that US nuclear plants improved in 2000 in unplanned capability loss factor, solid radioactive waste volume, and thermal performance.