Strong Performance Recorded Among U.S. Nuclear Plants in 2012

Despite extended outages at four reactors, American nuclear plants logged a median capacity factor of 91.2 percent in 2012, not far from the 2005 record high of 92 percent, according to data recently compiled by international nuclear power organizations.

2012 unplanned reactor shutdowns. Source: NEILast year saw 62 unplanned shutdowns in the U.S. and a median forced-loss rate of 1.2 percent. Both figures are among the lowest in their categories recorded in the last decade, the Nuclear Energy Institute noted while highlighting the annual statistics published by the World Association of Nuclear Operators and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations.  

A key metric of worker safety broke a record last year. The industry reported 0.05 accidents per 200,000 worker hours – well below the injury rate in many non-industrial businesses. Next year's numbers for 2013, though, will account for a recent fatal accident involving a falling turbine stator at Arkansas Nuclear One.

In total, U.S. reactors generated 769 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2012, representing 19 percent of all U.S. power generation and almost two-thirds of the power from low-carbon sources.

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  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Are the extended outages at four reactors included in the capacity factor calculation?

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    That is why the median value was used instead of the mean (average).

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    "On the topic of the use of nuclear energy as a alternate source of energy, I find it hard to oppose. Although outbreaks have occurred in the past, none have happened on American soil. Because our regulations and oversight is so involved, a mishap of any kind is next to impossible. That being said, it only makes sense to use a very powerful and effective source of energy, which will greatly cut down on emissions in the process

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    What is an 'outbreak'.