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The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2018

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

The 2018 edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report has just been released. Here are the 'key insights' from the report:

China Still Dominates Developments

  • Nuclear power generation in the world increased by 1% in 2017 due to an 18% increase in China.
  • Global nuclear power generation excluding China declined for the third year in a row.
  • Four reactors started up in 2017 of which three were in China and one in Pakistan (built by a Chinese company).
  • Five units started up in the first half of 2018, of which three were in China ‒ including the world's first EPR and AP1000 ‒ and two in Russia.
  • Five construction starts in the world in 2017.
  • No start of construction of any commercial reactors in China since December 2016.
  • The number of units under construction globally declined for the fifth year in a row, from 68 reactors at the end of 2013 to 50 by mid-2018, of which 16 are in China.

Operational Status and Construction Delays

  • The nuclear share of global electricity generation remained roughly stable over the past five years with a long-term declining trend, from 17.5% in 1996 to 10.3% in 2017.
  • Seven years after the Fukushima events, Japan had restarted five units by the end of 2017 ‒ generating still only 3.6% of the power in the country in 2017 ‒ and nine by mid-2018.
  • As of mid-2018, 32 reactors ‒ including 26 in Japan ‒ are in Long-Term Outage (LTO).
  • At least 33 of the 50 units under construction are behind schedule, mostly by several years. China is no exception, at least half of 16 units under construction are delayed.
    Of the 33 delayed construction projects, 15 have reported increased delays over the past year.
  • Only a quarter of the 16 units scheduled for startup in 2017 were actually connected to the grid.
  • New-build plans have been cancelled including in Jordan, Malaysia and the U.S. or postponed such as in Argentina, Indonesia, Kazakhstan.

Decommissioning Status Report

  • As of mid-2018, 115 units are undergoing decommissioning ‒ 70% of the 173 permanently shut-down reactors in the world.
  • Only 19 units have been fully decommissioned: 13 in the U.S., five in Germany, and one in Japan. Of these, only 10 have been returned to greenfield sites.

Interdependencies Between Civil and Military Infrastructures

  • Nuclear weapon states remain the main proponents of nuclear power programs. A first look into the question whether military interests serve as one of the drivers for plant-life extension and new-build.

Renewables Accelerate Take-Over

  • Globally, wind power output grew by 17% in 2017, solar by 35%, nuclear by 1%. Non-hydro renewables generate over 3,000 TWh more power than a decade ago, while nuclear produces less.
  • Auctions resulted in record low prices for onshore wind (<US$20/MWh) offshore wind (<US$45/MWh) and solar (<US$25/MWh). This compares with the "strike price" for the Hinkley Point C Project in the U.K. (US$120/MWh).
  • Nine of the 31 nuclear countries ‒ Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain and United Kingdom (U.K.) ‒ generated more electricity in 2017 from non-hydro renewables than from nuclear power.

Mycle Schneider, Antony Froggatt et al., Sept 2018, 'The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2018',