With malice towards none, and knowledge for all!
Those keen to sift facts from fiction may read the following note:
There is widespread wrong information about the status of nuclear power in USA after 1979, the year in which the accident occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear power station.
Many anti nuclear activists state that since 1977, USA has not built any new nuclear power plant. There is a little confusion here. It is true that USA has not issued any new licence to construct a nuclear power plant. Government approved up-rating the power of existing reactors by 6000MW from 1977 to 2011. From 2011 to 2015, 3211 MWe will be added.
Electric companies connected 50 out of the 104 currently operating nuclear power plants in USA to the grid after 1979, the year in which the Three Mile Island accident occurred. Nineteen of them after 1986, the year in which the Chernobyl accident occurred. Fifty three out of the 59 French reactors came on line after 1979.
The capacity factor of nuclear power reactors in USA averaged about 57 % in 1980. It increased gradually. From 2004 till 2010 (the latest data)it averaged over 90%. Twenty two US nuclear power reactors out of the 104 exceeded a capacity factor of 100%. In 2010 the capacity factors of other modes of power generation in % were: Biomass 85.5;.Geothermal 71.6;Coal (Steam turbine) 65.4;Gas(Combined cycle) 45.8;Hydro 29.4; Wind 29.1;Solar 17.7;Gas (Steam turbine) 12.9; oil (steam turbine) 8.9
Anti-nuclear critics claim that Russia stopped constructing nuclear power after 1986, the year in which the accident occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power station.
What is the factual position?
Russian power utilities started commercial operation of eight nuclear power reactors after 1986 . One of them in May 1986 a month after the Chernobyl accident. The last one of 950 Megawatt became critical on November 11, 2011 and is operating at 50% power as one December 13, 2011.
Russia currently has an installed nuclear power capacity of 24,164 MWe from 33 reactors. It has started construction and planned and proposed to erect 53 nuclear power reactors with a total capacity of over 50,000 MWe
China operates 15 reactors with a total capacity of 11,881 MWe starting from 1994. Nuclear power reactors under construction and planned number 77 with a total capacity of 85,750MW.
Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world’s most advanced, to give a five- or six-fold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 60 GWe by 2020, then 200 GWe by 2030, and 400 GWe by 2050.
Until March 2011, Germany generated 25% of its electricity from nuclear energy using 17 reactors.In 1998, Germany decided to phase out nuclear power; in 2009 Government cancelled this policy but shut down eight reactors post Fukushima even before the factual position about the accident was known.
French and Czechs are happy going to their banks. To compensate for the power generated by the seven reactors, Germany imports power from France and Czech Republic. France’s share of export to Germany increased by 50% in the first half of the year; Czech’s share went up by a whopping 673%(The Sydney Herald, November 26, 2011)
According to the paper, at peak times, up to four nuclear power stations in France and the Czech Republic are running just to cater to the demand from Germany.