Power Plant Performance
Load factors to end March 200423 July 2004
By Richard Knox
As another oil crisis again sends world leaders into impressions of newly beheaded chickens, the nuclear power industry, which might be expected to seize such an opportunity to push the obvious advantages of the technology, by and large sits and waits. If there is to be a chance to revive the nuclear power industry, you would think that nuclear vendors and operators would be doing their damnedest to prove its stability and long-term prospects. They should be forcefully demonstrating the proof of this practical means of large-scale energy production.
Instead, many of these organisations appear to be guilty of either laziness, mistaken ideas about what constitutes really commercially sensitive information, or failure to foresee where their future lies. Whatever the reason, it does not reflect the needs of the world right now! The figures published in these tables are widely used as reference and as back-up for the support of the nuclear power industry. The regular failures of a few sections of the same industry to communicate, include some that have been the most avid readers of this section of Nuclear Engineering International who have also been the worst offenders. However, we would like to offer our sincere thanks to the vast majority that provide the data for these pages with unfailing regularity.
The data for the end March 2004 quarter is missing from all Ukraine, Armenian and Lithuanian units, one each from Canada and Argentina, and nine from the USA. In the analyses that follow, these have been omitted where totals and averages are presented. The generation output data from the four Indian units marked as not available in the main table arrived too late to include in the main calculations. The data for these four units is included separately, showing the annual and lifetime load factors and cumulative generation.
In most cases there has been a small fall in performance levels compared with the year previously, but the only significant one was really in the average BWR performance, due mainly to their extensive shutdowns in Japan.
In these pages a year ago, we were comparing the changes in the top lifetime performers due to the incursion from the Korean units. This has continued to the point where half of this table is now Korean units, including the second and third positions. Even though each of the three German units in the table has increased its average lifetime load factors since a year ago, Neckar 2 and Gröhnde have been overtaken by the more than ten years younger Korean rivals. The two TVO units from Finland have also remained in this table. But still top of the table is the now almost legendary Emsland that for over 16 years has produced over 93.5% of its rated 1363MWe gross. It would be marginally encouraging for the renewable energy lobby if the entire UK installed capacity of wind power could match even half of Emsland’s capacity, and half its average output for even a few minutes, let alone 16 years!
|Load factor tables|
Units listed include all the reactors of 150MWe and above from which we regularly receive adequate monthly data.