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World Nuclear Reactor Status as of 1 January 2015

Thursday 1 January 2015

World Nuclear Reactor Status as of 1 January 2015

The Year 2014 is the first one in half a century that no nuclear electricity was generated in Japan.

As of 1 January 2015, there were 390 nuclear reactors considered “in operation” in the world, preliminary analysis indicates. Five new reactors started up over the year—three in China (Fangjiashan-1, Fuqing-1, Ningde-2) as in 2013, one each in Argentina (Atucha-2), after 33 years of construction, and Russia (Rostov-3), after 31 years of building—while the permanent closure of two reactors was announced (Vermont Yankee in the USA and Rajasthan-1 in India). While the Rajasthan reactor did not generate any electricity since 2004, Vermont Yankee—a reactor with an operating license valid until 2032—was shut down on 30 December 2014 mainly for economic reasons. According to the Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), this is the first time since Chernobyl-year 1986 that the number of operating nuclear reactors in the U.S. falls below the 100-unit mark.

The Year 2014 is also the first year that not a single nuclear reactor generated power in Japan in over half a century since the first unit was connected to the grid in 1963.

The number of operating reactors is difficult to compare with the situation one year ago, as the World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) created the Long-Term Outage (LTO) category in the meantime. WNISR2014 classified 43 Japanese reactors in LTO, plus one unit each in South-Korea and India (Rajasthan-1, now closed definitely).

As of 1 January 2015, there are 65 reactors, with a nominal capacity of 62 gigawatt (thousand megawatt), under construction in the world, four units less than one year earlier. Construction started during the year 2014 on three reactors, one each in Argentina (CAREM25), Belarus (Belarusian-2) and the United Arab Emirates (Barakah-3). Most of the construction sites are months or even many years behind schedule, including high-profile projects like the Generation-III reactors Olkiluoto-3 in Finland and Flamanville-3 in France, that were delayed again during the year 2014. These developments hit one of the world’s largest nuclear builder, the French state-owned AREVA, particularly hard. In November 2014, the credit-rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the company to speculative grade BB+ or "junk". The French "nuclear champion" lost over half of its stock value over the year (-87 percent since 2007).

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