Platts Survey: World Nuclear Generation Sets Record In 2006

2007-02-16 09:53 842

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- The world's nuclear operators have set a record for total power generation in 2006, according to preliminary data just released by Nucleonics Week, a publication of Platts, the world's leading energy information provider and top supplier of benchmark spot energy prices.

Led by notably improved output in Canada, Japan and Russia and sustained performance in the U.S., South Korea, and France, the world's nuclear-generated power output is likely to hit 2.8 billion gross megawatt-hours (MWh), the Platts Nucleonics Week annual 2006 survey shows. This compares to 2.75 billion MWh in 2005 and is the largest figure on record since Platts began compiling nuclear generation data in the late 1960s. Final 2006 figures for China and Slovakia are not yet available.

"This is important news for anyone concerned about the environmental impacts of electricity sources. Nuclear power plants generally run in baseload, 24 hours a day, and emit no carbon. The more power an operator can get out of each plant, the less electricity has to come from burning fossil fuels or hydro plants, the only other 24-hour-a-day sources," said Margaret Ryan, Platts' editorial director for nuclear. "Also, most operators say nuclear is their cheapest source of electricity, so a larger nuclear share can help to hold costs down."

The U.S. 2006 output of nearly 823 million gross MWh was above 2005's 816 million MWh, but fell short of the 2004 US record of 828 million MWh. On average, U.S. nuclear power plants were operating at 90% or near full capacity.

Notable productivity gains were made in Canada and Russia. The output of Canada's nuclear reactors grew 6.2% in megawatt-hours in 2006. Aided by the return to service of the Pickering-1 reactor, Ontario Power Generation got 14.7% more nuclear generation from the Pickering station in 2006 than in 2005, while Bruce Nuclear Power got 10.7% more out of its existing Bruce station facilities. Meanwhile, Russia's nuclear power plants gleaned about 5.3% more power, or about 9 million MWh, from their stations in 2006 than during the prior year. Both nations have been on a trend of getting more generation from their power reactors in the last several years.

U.S. nuclear power generation plants led the world list of best performers by capacity utilization, occupying half of the top 50 slots, while German reactors dominated in size, topping the list of the 50 largest generators. The U.S. has 103 operating reactors. U.S.-based Florida Power & Light's St. Lucie-1 and Entergy's Vermont Yankee turned in the world's highest capacity utilization rates, each above 102%, during 2006. The largest output came from E.On's 1,475-MW Isar-2 reactor, whose 12,442,254 MWh was nearly 700,000 MWh more than the second largest generator, Vattenfall-E.On's 1,440-MW Brokdorf reactor. The US South Texas Project's 1,333-MW South Texas-2 reactor was just 16,000 MWh behind Brokdorf.

France's 58 power reactors performed well during the year but did not show up at the top of the performance charts because they all load-follow, reducing power periodically to accommodate the needs of grid balancing. France derives nearly 80% of its electricity from nuclear sources. Japan's 55 reactors have been hit by a series of regulatory outages over the past three years, which have kept a number of them off-line, and kept the national average capacity factor below 70%.

Nuclear power generation accounts for about 16% of the world's electricity output. Platts Nucleonics Week's 2007 annual overview of world nuclear performance will be released in February, 2008. For more information about global nuclear power generation, visit Platts at .

About Platts:

Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), is a leading global provider of energy and metals information. With nearly a century of business experience, Platts serves customers across more than 150 countries. From 14 offices worldwide, Platts serves the oil, natural gas, electricity, nuclear power, coal, petrochemical and metals markets. Platts' real time news, pricing, analytical services, and conferences help markets operate with transparency and efficiency. Traders, risk managers, analysts, and industry leaders depend upon Platts to help them make better trading and investment decisions. Additional information is available at .

About The McGraw-Hill Companies:

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2006 were $6.3 billion. Additional information is available at .

Source: Platts
Keywords: Oil/Energy