By Richard Knox

Global warming? Cooling water must have been exceptionally cold during the 12 months to the end of June this year: a total of 13 nuclear units in South Korea, Japan and the USA exceeded their rated annual output, even though at least five of them were offline for a few hours during that time! However, it did not benefit all the world’s nuclear units similarly, because the proportion of units in the top quartile declined noticeably from the previous 12 months.

The absentees this time could not be expected to have changed the overall picture very much, being only one unit each from the USA, Canada, and Argentina, plus all the Ukrainian units. One month’s data was also unobtainable from the Clinton station in the USA, so its output for April has been estimated: the resulting figures given here will not differ much from the actual data.

Compared with last year at the same time, the average annual performance of RBMKs, and Magnox reactors fell a little, while the PHWR figures declined noticeably. A small improvement was recorded for PWRs, a larger one for the AGRs and the largest of all was for the BWR group.

South Korea is now operating as many nuclear units as Germany, as its numbers slowly climb, while Germany’s start to decline. In the lifetime performance stakes, two Wolsong units continued to creep up on Emsland, which, as has been observed before in these pages, has for a long time held the record for lifetime performance. Both Wolsong 4 and 3 increased their lifetime load factors, while Emsland’s slipped a little. The German unit’s 1.7% lead at the end of the previous quarter has now dropped to 0.9%. At this rate, Emsland’s long reign may be ended by the end September quarter. Watch this space!

Of the 410 units for which data was obtainable, the world average annual load factor was 78.1%, and the lifetime average load factor 71.4%. Output from these stations, with a total of 367529MWe gross installed capacity, had reached 46205TWh. The total operating experience extended over 8860 reactor years.

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FilesLoad Factors to end June 2004