Load factors to end September 2004

22 December 2004

By Richard Knox

The new ‘100 plus percent club’ continues with 13 members, although there has been a change of the actual membership list! Wolsong 4, which headed the table at the end of the last quarter, suffered from its over-indulgence by a significant drop in availability during the summer, and fell to a respectable 97.4% annual load factor by the end of September. Such is the intensity of the competition for achieving continuous baseload at the full rated value (or above?) that such a small drop loses 24 positions in the table. So Yonggwang 3 moved up two places to take the crown in September, even though its 12-month load factor had fallen by a fraction of a percentage point. A number of the US members of the club remained there for this quarter, including Limerick 2, La Salle 2, and Braidwood 1. The glowing praise has to be dampened by the ‘not availables’ for this quarter, which reached record proportions, thanks almost entirely to a large number of shy US units. It is impractical to list them here, but see the end of the main table. Also Ukraine is overdue for a revolution in reporting its nuclear unit performance like it used to, whether or not it feels disposed towards the Russian or western influence after the new election. NEI has little to complain about the dialogue with either the Russian or could make a much more favourable impact on public acceptance now that there are signs that the public at large is developing a more realistic attitude towards alternative energy and climate change problems. If the world’s leading nuclear operators took its public information duties as seriously as it used to when it scarcely had the time to do any PR work in between the apparently never-ending commissioning work on new plant, then the impression that there is something sinister in its secrecy might be alleviated somewhat. The PR work may have to wait until the industry is once more working all hours – this time on decommissioning? In the analyses presented here, the averages, totals etc, refer to the 383 units for which data was available.

The growing tension in the top ten lifetime stakes has eased, as the Wolsong units that were closing up on Emsland have changed their second and third places, and the new second place Wolsong 3 has a slightly lower lifetime achievement than the previous quarter’s challenger, Wolsong 4. Being a very much newer unit than Emsland means that a few weeks’ poor performance can have a disproportionate effect on the cumulative load factor. Emsland, meanwhile, has increased its figure by one tenth of a percentage point.

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