Load factors to end December 2000

30 April 2001

Table 1 lists nuclear units over 150MWe in order of their achievements as measured by the annual load factors for the 366 days ending 31 December 2000. No data were available for the Bulgarian units, for the second quarter running, and similarly two quarters of data from both Nine Mile Point units in the USA are now missing.

However, the twentieth century, in which nuclear power was invented, ended on a high note with no less than seven units achieving over 100% of their rated gross output over the last 12 months. Five of those units were in the United States. Indeed, as Nuclear Engineering International has shown over the years (Figure 7), the performance of US reactors (which account for almost a quarter of all the world’s operating units) has steadily improved from a poor average of about 55 % in the early 80’s to the present level of 85%. President Bush, for the sake of your energy shortage and our planet’s environment, please note.

Wolsong 3 is back at the top as prophetically (but erroneously) indicated in one of the two photographs included with the end September 2000 figures (NEI February 2001), and has been vying with its neighbour, Wolsong 4, for this honour.

Figure 1 also reflects an improvement over the year for all nuclear units, with an increase in the proportion of units achieving over 75% annual load factors. That was despite the inclusion of 39 additional units since last year, when the Russian and Ukrainian units for the first time entered the main table in the end-September figures.

Data for these two countries has now been incorporated in the “historical” records in these pages back as far as performance data was made readily available as from the end of 1995. As chance would have it, the last quarter also saw the final closure of any of the remaining Chernobyl units in the Ukraine, so the RBMK data (historical and present) is taken entirely from the Russian units.

In the UK, the Magnox units are showing their continuing rapid decline as they show their age. Sizewell A2 was the best performer last year, but ranked 239 in the world with a 78.7% annual load factor. The average performance of the British AGRs has picked up to complete the year at an overall average of 70.8%. That left the light water cooled units closely challenging each other at the top of Figure 4 after the AGRs took a small dive in 2000, from comparable to almost 10% below the two light water types.

Korea ended the year having put three of its units (Kori 4 twice, Wolsong 4 and 3, respectively) at the top of the annual table for each quarter. The country records show a growth of 3 percentage points to its year end average of 87.5%. Finland, Belgium and Spain reached the best annual averages of over 90%, all very close. Congratulations!

Note from the Editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those plants that regularly provide us with their generation output figures. They greatly help us to compile these tables. I would also like to take this opportunity to ask those plants that, for one reason or another, have not provided these figures to contact us. The more complete and accurate our figures are, the more useful the tables are.


Table 1. Annual and lifetime average load factors to end December 2000, for reactors of 150 MWe and above
Table 1 Continued
Table 1 continued III
Table 1 continued I
Table 1 continued II
Table 2. Units that have not yet operated for 1 year as at end December 2000
Top ten by lifetime performance to end December 2000
Top ten electricity generators as of end of December 2000
Country averages as at end December 2000

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