Mycle Schneider, 29 February 2020

(Updated 18 March 2020) World Nuclear Reactor Status as of 1 January 2020 (with dataviz)

Operating fleet and construction apparently stable

2019 for Global Nuclear Power in a Nutshell

Six reactor startups (7 less than scheduled), 5 closures, 5 construction starts (+ one construction restart). Three new reactors entered Long-Term Outage, 2 were restarted, 2 were closed. Globally, 415 reactors are operating (as one year ago), 49 are under construction.

Three countries started up new reactors in 2019, Russia added three, China two and South Korea one. The total of six new startups compares with 13 units scheduled for grid connection at the beginning of the year. Over the decade 2010–2019, 63 new units were started up in the world of which 37 (59%) were in China, while 55 units were closed, none in China. In other words, outside China, with only 26 grid connections, closures were exceeding startups by 29. The global decline is obvious.

Five units were permanently closed, two in the U.S. and one each in Germany (Philippsburg-2), Sweden (Ringhals-2) and Switzerland (Mühleberg). In addition, closure decisions have been taken for two reactors that did not generated any power in 2019, one each in Japan (Genkai-2) and Taiwan (Chinshan-2) . Thus, the total number of commercial reactors that have closed increases by seven to 186.

A total of 27 reactors are in Long-Term Outages (LTO), 24 are in Japan, and one each in Canada, China and South Korea.

Therefore, as of the beginning of a new decade there were 415 operating reactors, identical to the beginning of 2019, three less than in 1989, and 23 units below the historic peak of 438 in 2002.

The number of reactors under construction remained stable at 49. This is the sixth year in a row that a fall or no increase has occurred, since 2013 when there were 68 units. Work on five reactors started in 2019, three in China and one each in Russia and the UK. Officially, China had not opened any new construction site for a commercial reactor for almost three years, between December 2016 and October 2019 (work on a demonstration fast breeder started in 2017). However, sources in China report that two more constructions got underway in April and November 2019 respectively at the Shidaowan (Shidao Bay) site at the Shangdong province, inaugurating the implementation of the CAP1400 design. The WNISR figures are taking them into account.

The Chinese nuclear development remains significantly below the ambitions of the 5-Year Plan 2016-2020 with currently 45.5 GW operating and around 12.5 GW under construction versus 2020-target levels of 58 GW operating and 30 GW under construction. There is no recent official government statement as to timing and ambition of future nuclear planning.

Another issue relates to the U.K. EDF-Energy strangely does not communicate on the actual construction start—the beginning of the concrete pour of the base slab of the reactor building as defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). However, EDF Energy has confirmed in an email that concrete pour for unit 2 of Hinkley Point C began on 10 December 2019, an event communicated by the IAEA only earlier in March 2020 and never publicly announced by EDF Energy (see detailed story “Strangely Belated Announcement of Hinkley Point C‑2 Construction Start”).

WNISR NEWS: Since its global launch on 24 September 2019 Central European University in Budapest (Hungary), WNISR2019 has been presented at events/meetings in Prague (Czech Republic), Washington, D.C.(U.S.), Vienna, (Austria), Paris (France), Macao (China), London (UK), Brussels (Belgium). Further presentations are scheduled on 4–5 March 2020 in Warsaw (Poland).