Fourteen units did not generate any electricity during 2011. Of these, four were pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) undergoing refurbishment, seven were boiling water reactors (BWRs), and three were pressurized water reactors (PWRs).

Bruce A units 1 & 2 in Canada have been undergoing extensive refurbishment since mid-2006. Operator Bruce Power was given permission to restart unit 2 in mid-March 2012 and said that restart of unit 1 was expected to follow within a few months. Also in Canada, Point Lepreau has been shut since March 2008 for refurbishment, and operator NB Power expects the unit to return to service by the fall of 2012. RAPS 1 in India has been shut since October 2004.

In Japan, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa units 2-4 have been offline since the July 2007 Chu-etsu offshore earthquake. In April 2011, the plant’s operator TEPCO announced a number of measures that would be taken at the site, including building a seawall, installing vents and improving cooling capability. The following Japanese units have been in outage for periodic inspection for over 12 months: Fukushima Daiichi 6 since 14 August 2010, Shimane 1 since 8 November 2010, Mihama 1 since 24 November 2010, Hamaoka 3 since 29 November 2010, and Genkai 3 since 11 December 2010. Onagawa 2 was starting up from an outage (6 November 2010 – March 2011) when the 11 March 2011 earthquake hit off the coast of Japan, causing the reactor to automatically shut down. Following the Fukushima accident, all Japanese plants have to undergo a comprehensive safety assessment and gain local approval before they will be allowed to resume operation.

The Crystal River 3 PWR in Florida has been closed since September 2009, when workers discovered a crack in the containment wall during a refuelling outage. A second crack was found when the first one was being repaired in March 2011. Progress Energy says that repairing the cracks will keep the unit offline until 2014.

Of the units that have load factors below 25% the vast majority are in Japan. The others include Fort Calhoun 1 in the States, which has been shut since an April refuelling outage that was extended due to flooding along the Missouri River. The US regulator the NRC said in December that the unit would not be able to restart until the operator OPPD resolves a number of violations.

Russia’s Novovoronezh 5 was offline from September 2010 to September 2011 for a unit overhaul and the implementation of a package of life extension measures. Fessenheim 2 in France was taken offline in April 2011 for its periodic ten-year inspections, returning to grid in March 2012. Ringhals 2 in Sweden has been shut since a fire in May 2011, just prior to a planned restart following a maintenance outage.

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This article was first published in the May 2012 issue of Nuclear Engineering International

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