Global Nuclear Generation Capacity Falls

Matt Lucky | Nov 17, 2011

Global installed nuclear generating capacity has declined in 2011, falling to 366.5 gigawatts (GW).1 (See Figure 1.) As of October 2011 there were 433 nuclear reactors in operation around the world, compared to 441 at the beginning of the year.2 Just over 5.1 GW of installed capacity has been added since the beginning of 2010, with new connections to the grid in China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, and South Korea.3 Over that same period, nearly 11.5 GW of installed capacity has been shut down in France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom.4 More than 8.4 GW of installed capacity was shut down in Germany alone in 2011.5

Vital Signs Trend Nuclear Power Figure 1

In 2010 nuclear construction starts worldwide reached their highest levels since 1980, with 16 new reactors beginning construction at 15 different locations.6 Construction starts decreased significantly in 2011, however, with only India and Pakistan starting to build one new reactor each during this time.7 (See Figure 2.) There are 65 reactors currently under construction in 14 countries around the world.8 When these are completed, they will provide 62.6 GW of additional installed capacity.9 Twelve of these 65 reactors, however, have been “under construction” for more than 20 years.10

The construction of Flamanville 3, the first nuclear power plant to be built in France in 15 years, has been delayed for economic and structural engineering reasons.11 It was originally supposed to come online in 2012 at a cost of €3.3 billion, but it is now expected to start up in 2016 at a cost of €6 billion.12

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