Load factors to end March 2001

30 July 2001

Table 1 lists nuclear units over 150MWe in order of their achievements as measured by the annual load factors for the 365 days ending 31 March 2001. No data were available for any of the Indian units, and data from both Callaway 1 and Davis Besse 1 units in the USA are now missing.

The high achievement of nuclear units, particularly the continuing growth in average performance of the two “workhorse” reactor types, and in the USA, is continued this quarter with eight of the top ten annual figures reaching or exceding 100 %. President Bush, as we remarked for the previous quarter, please continue to note! However, the quartile summary in Fig. 1 has shown a steady decline in the proportion of units achieving over 75% of their rated annual output over the last two years at this time of the year, from 70.6% in 1999 through 66.6% in 2000 to 65.9% in the new figures. This has been at the expense of those in the two lower quartiles. The country tables later in these pages shows that the drop has occurred mainly in those countries with less than four units, and in Switzerland, Sweden, and Taiwan, all of which still achieved creditable results. The curves of average annual output by country given in Figure 7 include a correction to the curves given in the end December 2000 figures published in our May issue, in which the lifetime load factors were inadvertently added to the record. Also the Russian record has been expanded with historical data going back to the concluding years of the Soviet era, when performance data first became available.

It is interesting to note that all the units in the top 30 of the end-March 2001 quarter are all in three countries: the USA (19), Japan (8) and Korea (3). In the lifetime performance table, Yonggwang 4 has pushed into the number 8 slot, displacing Paks 4 and Tihange 3, and pushing Paks 3 out of the table since a year ago. Emsland in Germany has clearly set the standard without achieving 100% outputs one quarter and falling in the next. Being among the highest ratings in the nuclear unit spectrum is an obvious bonus! The world’s nuclear industry is approaching a critical period in its history. The major users of nuclear power have more or less stopped ordering new units, and it will take years to reverse that trend. In common with other forms of energy, large power projects are no longer seen as politically correct. The result is easy to predict, and can be seen in the USA already. The same problems will soon face Sweden and other European nations. Whether greenhouse gas production is already a significant factor in the undoubted global warming that is taking place, it cannot be brushed aside as a purely solar phenomenon over which we have no control. It is still axiomatic that greenhouse gases will not help, and an unchecked growth in their production threatens our planet. In such a situation, those in the industry have an obligation to thoughtfully help educate the public at large, not use extravagant claims or unfounded scare stories, and certainly not to become inward-looking and ostrich-like. Nuclear power must be a very important player in the energy mix for a greenhouse gas-reduced future. So we repeat our plea to those users who are needlessly hiding, or not bothering, to join the overwhelming majority who take a few moments to copy us with their output data.


Country averages as at end March 2001
Top ten by lifetime performance to end March 2001
Top ten electricity generators as of end March 2001
Table 1. Annual and lifetime average load factors to end March 2001, for reactors of 150 MWe and above
Table 1. Annual and lifetime average load factors to end March 2001, for reactors of 150 MWe and above. Continued I
Table 1. Annual and lifetime average load factors to end March 2001, for reactors of 150 MWe and above. Continued II
Table 1. Annual and lifetime average load factors to end March 2001, for reactors of 150 MWe and above. Continued III
Table 2. Units that have not yet operated for 1 year as at end March 2001

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