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Nuclear power in 2000: State of the art?

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(December 15, 2000) The following article gives an update of the nuclear power plants opened and closed in the last two years.

(540.5230) WISE Amsterdam - In 1998 we published our last overview of nuclear power plants (NPP), in our Victory Special, News Communique 500, 16 October 1998. We concluded that nuclear power was in decline worldwide: during 1998 global installed nuclear capacity declined to a total of 367,602 MW gross. We mentioned at that time already that ten to fifteen NPP would probably be taken into commercial operation in the next two years. And indeed, during 1999 and 2000, installed nuclear capacity increased again with 4,396 MW, to a total of 371,998 MW gross. That's the net result of nine new NPP entering commercial operation and the closure of five old NPP, plus some power uprates of 835 MW (708 MW in 1999 and 127 MW in 2000).

TABLE I: 1999 NET NUCLEAR BALANCE: Plus 2,333 MW gross (MWgr)
Reactors starting commercial operation during 1999
Country Reactor Power (MWgr)
Slovakia Mochovce 2 440
S. Korea Ulchin 4 1000
S. Korea Wolsung 4 715
India Kaiga 2 235
Closed reactors during 1999
Country Reactor Power (MWgr)
Kazakhstan BN-350 150
Sweden Barsebäck 1 615
In 1999: 2 NPP closed: 765 MWgr
In 1999: 4 NPP started: 2390 MWgr
NPP Power Uprates: 708 MWgr
Net Increase: 2333 MWgr

Reactors starting commercial operation during 2000
Country Reactor Power (MWgr)
Brazil Angra 2 1300
Pakistan Chasma 325
France Chooz B1 1516
India Kaiga 1 235
India RAPS 3 220
Closed reactors during 2000
Country Reactor Power (MWgr)
UK Hinkley A1 330
UK Hinkley A2 330
Ukraine Chernobyl 3 1000
In 2000: 3 NPP closed: 1660 MWgr
In 2000: 5 NPP started: 3596 MWgr
NPP Power Uprates: 127 MWgr
Net Increase: 2063 MWgr

Cancelled NPP IN 2000: 4 NPP with 4,600 MW gross.
During 2000 four NPP were cancelled: two in Turkey and two in Taiwan. The bidding for two units at Akkuyu had been going on for almost two decades, until they were finally cancelled this summer. Nuclear firms spent some $500 million on bidding for the project. This shows how eager they are for new NPP orders, because they are almost starved.
The defeat of the old pro-nuclear Kuomintang party during last elections brought the anti-nuclear Democratic People's Party to power. After some internal struggle, they decided to stop construction of the two reactors, which were about 30% completed.


Past ten years: small growth of 0.7% per year
When we look at the growth of installed nuclear power during the past decade, from 1991 through 2000, we see a growth of only 22,452 MW. That's an average growth of 2,245 MW per year or 0.6% per year. This is based on data from the IAEA. The data given by IAEA are in MWnet, which is on average 6.5% lower than the MWgross figures given by Nucleonics Week.

Date Installed Poer Under Construction Both
12-91 326,611 62,044 388,655
12-00 349,063 31.128 380,191

NPP under construction
In 1998 we listed 28 NPP with 24,329 MW as under construction. From these, nine NPP were taken in Commercial Operation since. Two were cancelled, the Lungmen units in Taiwan, each of 1300 MW.

If no construction was started of new units, there would still be 17 NPP under construction. However, to our knowledge, 27 NPP are currently under construction. So since 1998 ten more NPP were put under construction. These are: four in China, two in Japan, two in S. Korea and two in India.

Future developments
It is expected that more and more NPP will be closed the next decades, as an increasing number of NPP are nearing the end of their lifetimes. There are however also other trends visible.

One is extending of lifetimes of NPP, by 10 to 20 years, another is power uprates of existing NPP, by replacing of old steam generators by newer, more efficient ones.
In several countries governments announced they will wait with construction of new NPP, until it is clear or nuclear energy will be adopted as a "clean" energy source in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto climate change protocol. In that case the construction of NPP could be rewarded with CO2 trading credits, which would make nuclear investments up to 40 percent cheaper. Countries like China and Brazil said they would not construct new NPP without those CO2 credits. The sixth climate change conference, COP6, at The Hague, the Netherlands ended however without a final statement. It is expected that a decision will be taken during the continuation of the COP6 conference in May 2001 in Germany. The future of the nuclear industry will depend for a large part on the decisions taken there.

If nuclear energy is not included as a "clean", "sustainable" energy source in the CDM, growth of nuclear will stay low, at rate of about 0.6% similar to that seen in the past ten years, or will remain stagnant, at about the current level of 370 GW.


  • IAEA Bulletin 1-92 and 3-00
  • Nucleonics Week 10 February, 18 May, 27 July, 14 September, 28 September, 12 October and 19 October 2000

Contact: WISE Amsterdam