Global nuclear operating capacity stood at 392.1GW(e) in 2019: IAEA

26 June 2020 (Last Updated August 18th, 2020 05:01)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has released data showing global nuclear power operating capacity was 392.1GW(e) at the end of 2019.

Global nuclear operating capacity stood at 392.1GW(e) in 2019: IAEA
Global nuclear capacity decreased in 2019 as Japan decommissioned its idle reactors. Credit: Markus Distelrath.

Global nuclear power operating capacity reached 392.1GW(e) at the end of 2019, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA). Data collected by collected by the Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) show this consisted of 443 operational nuclear power reactors in 30 countries.

Since 2011, the overall nuclear power capacity has shown a gradual growth trend, with 23.2 GW(e) of new capacity in newly connected units or upgrades to existing reactors.

However, global capacity fell by around 4.5 GW(e) compared in 2019 compared to 2018, because of Japan’s decision to permanently shut down five reactors that have not produced power since 2011.

At the end of last year, 54 reactors with a capacity of more than 57.4 GW(e) were under construction in 19 countries. This includes four countries building their first reactor.

According to the report, both short and long-term capacity growth prospects are centred in Asia. Countries on the continent disclosed approximately 36.5 GW(e) of nuclear power capacity under construction, across 35 reactors.

IAEA: Nuclear is now 10% of global power generation

Last year, 2586.2TWh of emission-free and low-carbon baseload nuclear power was supplied, representing nearly 10% of total global electricity generation. This is also nearly a third of the world’s low-carbon electricity production.

The report stated more than six new pressurised water reactors were integrated with the grid, resulting in an additional 5174MW(e) of nuclear power capacity. Meanwhile, 13 reactors with a total capacity of 10196 MW(e) were permanently closed.

Out of the total operational nuclear power capacity, 89.2% consisted of light water moderated and cooled reactor types, 6.1% were heavy water moderated and cooled reactor types, 2.4% were light water-cooled and graphite-moderated reactor types and 2% were gas-cooled reactor types. Three were liquid metal-cooled fast reactors.

Established in 1969, PRIS is developed and maintained by the IAEA, which offers information on nuclear power reactors that are in operation, under construction, or in the decommissioning phase.