Reactor shutdowns outweigh start-ups in 2019

03 January 2020

Global nuclear generating capacity stood at 392.4 GWe net at the end of 2019, down slightly on 2018, according to data from World Nuclear Association. Six power reactors were added to the grid last year and construction of three large reactor projects started, while nine units were permanently shut down.

Novovoronezh II-2 was one of six reactors that started up in 2019 (Image: Rosenergoatom)

Six new nuclear power reactors with a combined generating capacity of 5241 MWe came on line in 2019. Two of these - Taishan 2 and Yangjiang 6 - were in China. Unit 4 of South Korea's Shin Kori plant was also connected to the grid, as was Russia's Novovoronezh II unit 2. Russia's first floating nuclear power plant, the Akademik Lomonosov - comprising two 32 MWe reactors - was also connected to the grid towards the end the year.

In 2018, 10,420 MWe of new nuclear generating capacity was connected to the grid, while 3345 MWe was added in 2017.

Power uprates at existing reactors also added 212 MWe of generating capacity during 2019. Some 35 MWe was added at the Embalse plant in Argentina, while 155 MWe and 22 MWe were added at the USA's Browns Ferry 2 and Peach Bottom 2 units, respectively. In comparison, four uprates in the USA added 350 MWe of capacity in 2018.

Construction was started last year of three new power reactors: unit 2 of the Kursk II plant in Russia; unit 1 of China's Zhangzhou plant; and unit 2 of Iran's Bushehr plant.

Nine power reactors with a combined capacity of 5976 MWe were officially shut down in 2019. These were Bilibino 1 in Russia, Chinshan 2 in Taiwan, Genkai 2 in Japan, Mühleberg in Switzerland, Philippsburg 2 in Germany, Pilgrim in the USA, Ringhals 2 in Sweden and Three Mile Island 1 in the USA. Unit 1 of South Korea's Wolsong plant, which had not operated since June 2018, was declared as having been shut down on 24 December.

At the end of 2019, there were 442 reactors operable around the world, totalling 392.4 GWe net, and 54 under construction (59.9 GWe gross).

Researched and written by World Nuclear News