The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released its annual nuclear power status data for 2019 collected by the Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) and issued its Safeguards Statement for 2019.
PRIS has been developed and maintained by the IAEA since 1969, based on information provided by counterparts in countries worldwide.
At the end of 2019, the global operating nuclear power capacity was 392.1GWe, comprising 443 operational nuclear power reactors in 30 countries. Overall, nuclear power capacity has increased since 2011, including some 23.2GWe of new capacity from new units
or upgrades to existing reactors.
However, in 2019, total global capacity decreased by some 4.5GWe compared with 2018, reflecting Japan’s decision to permanently shut down five reactors that had not generated electricity since 2011. At the end of 2019, more than 57.4GWe of capacity (54 reactors) was under construction in 19 countries, including four that are building their first nuclear reactor. Near and long-term capacity growth prospects are centred in Asia, which at the end of 2019 reported some 36.5GWe of nuclear power capacity (35 reactors) under construction.
Throughout 2019, nuclear power supplied 2586.2TWh of baseload electricity - 10% of total global electricity generation and nearly a third of the world’s low-carbon electricity production. Nuclear generation has continuously grown, expanding by more than 9% since 2012.
In 2019, six new pressurised water reactors (PWR) were connected to the grid, resulting in an additional 5174MWe of nuclear power capacity. Over 77% of this new capacity was added in Asia and included two units in China at Taishan 2 (1660MWe) and Yangjiang 6 (1000MWe), and one reactor unit in the South Korea at Shin-Kori 4 (1340MWe). Three reactors, with a total capacity of 1174MWe, were connected to the grid in Russia, including Novovoronezh II-2 (1114MWe) and the world’s first commercial floating NPP, Akademik Lomonosov, with two 30MWe reactors.
At the end of 2019, 54 reactors were under construction in 19 countries with a total of capacity of 57441MWe. Installed nuclear capacity under construction has remained steady in recent years, except for continuous growth in Asia, where a total of 55067MWe operational capacity (61 reactors) has been connected to the grid since 2005. In 2019, the construction of five PWR reactors began - two in China (Zhangzhou 1 (1126MWe) and Taipingling 1 (1116MWe) and one each in Iran (Bushehr 2, 974MWe), Russia (Kursk II-2, 1175 MWe) and the UK (Hinkley Point C 2, 1630MWe).
Thirteen reactors with a total capacity of 10196MWe were permanently shut down. Five were in Japan Genkai 2 (529MWe), and Fukushima-Daini 1-4 (1067MWe each). Other units permanently retired in 2019 include Chinshan 2 (604MWe) in Taiwan; Wolsong 1 (661MWe) in South Korea; Philippsburg 2 (1402MWe) in Germany; Ringhals 2 (852MWe) in Sweden; Muehleberg (373MWe) in Switzerland; Bilibino 1 (11MWe) in Russia; and Pilgrim 1 (677MWe) and Three Mile Island 1 (819MWe) in the USA. .
In 2019, 71 nuclear reactors in 11 countries utilised 2146.7GWh of electrical equivalent heat to support non-electric applications such as for district heating, process heat supply or desalination. About 88% of the heat was supplied by 57 reactors in Europe and 12% by 14 reactors in Asia. Further, ten reactors supported desalination (48.0GWh), 56 supported district heating (1870.6GWh) and 32 supported industrial heat applications (1248.0GWh).
Operational nuclear power plants continue to demonstrate high levels of overall reliability and performance. In 2019, the global median capacity factor was 85.9%, in line with the load factor in recent years. Reliability and safety also continued to improve, PRIS found.
Nuclear safeguards in 2019
The IAEA’s Worldwide Safeguards Statement 2019 said safeguards now applied in 183 states. The IAEA reported its 2019 safeguards conclusions to its Board of Governors in June as part of the annual Safeguards Implementation Report.
“Following the trend of previous years, in 2019 the total number of nuclear facilities and other locations under safeguards continued to increase, as did the amount of nuclear material for which the IAEA applies safeguards,” said Massimo Aparo, deputy director general and Head of the Department of Safeguards at the IAEA.
Of the 175 states with a comprehensive safeguards agreement in force in 2019, 131 also had an additional protocol in force or provisionally implemented. This included two states that ratified an additional protocol to their safeguards agreements in 2019. The additional protocol enables IAEA to provide assurances regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities, in addition to assurances on the non-diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities.
For states with a comprehensive safeguards agreement in force, IAEA was able to conclude that for 69 states, “all nuclear material remained in peaceful activities” and for the other 106 states that “declared nuclear material remained in peaceful activities”.
For the three states with item-specific safeguards agreements in force (India, Israel and Pakistan), the IAEA concluded that “nuclear material, facilities or other items to which safeguards had been applied remained in peaceful activities”.
For the five states with voluntary offer agreements in force (China, France, Russia, the UK and the USA), IAEA concluded that “nuclear material in selected facilities to which safeguards had been applied remained in peaceful activities or had been withdrawn from safeguards as provided for in the agreements”.
Throughout 2019, IAEA conducted almost 3,000 verifications across the globe requiring over 13,000 days spent in the field by IAEA inspectors. These verification activities included 149 complimentary accesses that can provide IAEA with entry to a location within 24 hours and, in some cases, with as little as two hours’ notice.
“The activities which the IAEA carries out to implement safeguards are extensive, including nuclear material and environmental sampling, the application of seals to nuclear material and equipment, and the use of on-site surveillance cameras and remote monitoring of nuclear facilities,” said Aparo.