No power reactors were closed last year but some 13 construction projects were started, promising more than one new reactor per month around 2015.
New capacity entering commercial operation in 2010 amounted to 2839 MWe net (Russia’s Rostov 2, India’s Rajasthan 6 and China’s Ling Ao 3 and Qinshan II-3), while South Korea’s Shin Kori 1 was grid connected and should soon provide another 1000 MWe net on a commercial basis. The Phenix reactor in France was officially closed in February 2010, but this had ceased power generation in 2009 and is counted among that year’s figures.
On 31 December 2010, China National Nuclear Corporation held an official ceremony to mark the start of work on Fuqing 3, in Fujian province. The 1080 MWe CPR-1000 unit should begin operation in the middle of 2015. It was the eighth construction start in China last year as the country continued to grow as a major player in nuclear energy.
Around the world, last year’s construction starts added up to 15,218 MWe gross, according to World Nuclear Association research. Eight of these were in China (Fuqing 3, Ningde 3, Taishan 2, Changjiang 1, Haiyang 2, Fangchenggang 1, Yangjiang 3 and Changjiang 2), but work also started in Russia (Leningrad II-2 and Rostov 4), in India (Kakrapar 3 and 4) as well as in Brazil (Angra 3). Separately, the stalled construction of Japan’s 1383 MWe Ohma unit got back underway after re-engineering work for enhanced earthquake protection.
These 13 new construction projects continue the global upward trend in nuclear power. In 2009 the figure for new construction starts was 11, while 2008 and 2007 each saw ten. Assuming about five years for construction it can be expected that reactors will be coming online around 2012 at double today’s rate of five per year, with this to rise to one per month around 2015. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s PRIS database, the last time ten or more new reactors started in a single year was 1990.