Why the global rate of new builds is urged to accelerate

Climate change targets are already calling for it.

Despite challenging market conditions, the global nuclear industry delivered a strong operating performance and improvements in construction times of new reactors in 2015, according to a new report from the World Nuclear Association. The report says that if the world is to meet its climate change targets then the rate of new build will need to accelerate.

In its first annual World Nuclear Performance Report, published yesterday, the association provides key metrics on nuclear power plant performance and reviews recent developments in the global nuclear industry.

The report says ten new reactors, with a combined generating capacity of 9875 MWe, were brought online last year, while seven reactors representing 3934 MWe of capacity were permanently shut down. A total of 439 reactors were in operation at the end of 2015. Nuclear power plants generated 2441 TWh of electricity last year, accounting for some 10% of total world generation.

"Nuclear power plants were again among the world's best performing generating stations in 2015. The global fleet regularly performs to its highest technical capability," the Association said. It noted that the average capacity factor of the world's reactors (excluding those in Japan, which have largely remained idle) was 81.7% in 2015. It has been over 80% since the start of this century.