Load factors by vendor to end December 20129 July 2013
During the peak of nuclear construction, around thirty years ago, there were major nuclear steam supply companies in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. These companies were responsible for the supply of the reactor, the reactor coolant pumps (and steam generators for a pressurized water reactor) and associated piping. Today there is a much smaller group of NSSS suppliers. They also work increasingly closely together, for example AREVA with MHI, Westinghouse with majority-owner Toshiba and Hitachi with General Electric.
?During the peak of nuclear construction, around thirty years ago, there were major nuclear steam supply companies in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. These companies were responsible for the supply of the reactor, the reactor coolant pumps (and steam generators for a pressurized water reactor) and associated piping. Today there is a much smaller group of NSSS suppliers. They also work increasingly closely together, for example AREVA with MHI, Westinghouse with majority-owner Toshiba and Hitachi with General Electric.
What has also changed over the past few decades has been the development of NSSS supply capability in South Korea, China and India. The prominence of vendors from these countries is notable if we look at new reactors coming online or under construction. Over the last five years, 10 of the 12 reactors joining our tables were supplied by vendors based in these three countries.
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) supplied the NSSS for three Indian pressurized heavy water reactors (Rajasthan 5&6 and Kaiga 4); China's CGNPC (in partnership with Dongfang) supplied the Ling Ao 3&4 pressurized water reactors, while another Chinese firm was NSSS vendor for the Chashma 2 PWR in Pakistan; Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction (formerly Hanjung) provided the NSSS systems from three Korean reactors Shin-Kori 1&2 and Shin-Wolsong 1. The NSSS for the remaining units (Rostov 2 and Kalinin 4) were supplied by Russia or MHI (Tomari 3, Japan). (Note that these numbers would be greater still if we received data for all Chinese units).
The number of units under construction with NSSS supplied by China, Russia or Korea looks set to increase in future due to China's and Korea's plans to become international vendors of nuclear power plants. Korea won its first international order for the construction of four 1400 MW APR-1400 reactors in the United Arab Emirates in 2009. Construction is now underway on the first unit there, Barakah 1, and looks set to begin on a second this summer.
The South Korean reactor designs (OPR-1000 and the newer APR-1400 that is being built in the UAE) evolved from Combustion Engineering technology, with the first entering service in 1994. Hanjung, which supplied these reactors, was (again!) one of the top pressurized water reactor NSSS vendors at the end of 2012 (average lifetime load factor of 87.1%, only slightly bettered by KWU with 87.3%), but it must be noted that its equipment has only been in operation for around 100 years (cumulative). Compared with the larger PWR vendors (Westinghouse with 2487 and Framatome with 1813 years of operation, respectively) its performance should be judged with caution. On the other hand, there is no evidence from these figures that the younger nuclear units perform any better than the older ones.
The performance for many of the world's boiling water reactors were heavily affected by Fukushima, notably those supplied by Japanese vendors Hitachi and Toshiba. ABB and GE also saw their overall average load factors fall from 82.1% in 2011 to 74.4% in 2012, and from 82.9% to 80.8%, respectively.
PHWR figures have also altered somewhat from last time. Firstly, this is due to the fact that some vendors were inaccurate last time. Wolsong 2, 3, and 4 were listed under AECL (the private side of which was purchased by engineering and construction group SNC-Lavalin in 2011 and became Candu Energy Inc.); however, they were in fact supplied by Korea Heavy Industries and Construction (Hanjung), with AECL as a subcontractor. This has been changed now and retrospectively.
Looking to size, medium-sized reactors (that is 600MW to 999.9 MW) performed the best in the 12 months to end December 2012, achieving an average load factor of 72.4%, above the overall average of 69.9%. Large reactors, which accounted for almost half of all reactors in our records, also achieved better than average load factor of 70.8% for the 12 months ending December 2012. It is worthwhile noting that Japan, where many reactors remained out of service during 2012, has a mixture of small (12), medium (13) and large (25) reactors, accounting for 16%, 10% and 13% of the respective categories.
Table: Number of reactors per vendor
|Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL)||26|
|Babcock & Wilcox (B&W)||7|
|China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co.||2|
|Combustion Engineering (CE)||14|
|General Electric (GE)||50|
|Kraftwerk Union (KWU)||14|
|Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)||20|
|National Nuclear Co (UK)||1|
|Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd||16|
|Shanghai Nuclear Engineering R&D Institute||2|
[Editor's note: five tables—PWR, PHWR, BWR, RBMK and combined nuclear reactor performance by NSSS vendor—and three figures—PWR, BWR and other reactor types average annual load factors—omitted from the online version of this story, originally published in the June 2013 issue of NEI magazine. Full version available to subscribers only.