Nuclear power down in 2012

20 June 2013

Nuclear power generation suffered its biggest ever one-year fall through 2012 as the bulk of the Japanese fleet remained offline for a full calendar year.

Data from the International Atomic Energy Agency showed that nuclear power plants around the world produced a total of 2346 TWh in 2012 - some 7% fewer than in 2011. The figures illustrate the effects of a full year of mostly-suspended operation in Japan, the loss of eight units in Germany as well as other operational issues around the world.

With a total of 48 operable Japanese reactors producing no power during the year, 2012's nuclear generation was the lowest since 1999. Problems for Crystal River, Fort Calhoun and the two San Onofre units in the USA meant they produced no power, while in Belgium Doel 3 and Tihange 2 were out of action for half of the year.

Compared to the last full year before the Fukushima accident, 2010, the nuclear industry produced some 11% less electricity in 2012.

Nuclear electricity production to 2012 (WNA) 460x293
It will take significant restarts in Japan and new build in China for nuclear power to regain its production levels in the next few years (Image: World Nuclear Association)


Three new reactors started up during 2012: South Korea's Shin Wolsong 1 and Shin Kori 2, as well as Ningde 1 in China. In Canada two older units came back into operation after refurbishment, Bruce A1 and A2. All this oncoming capacity totalled 4501 MWe, easily outweighing the retirements of the UK's Oldbury 1 and Wylfa 2, and Canada's Gentilly 2, which between them generated 1342 MWe. Across the rest of the global fleet, uprates added about 990 MWe in new capacity.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News