Capacity Factor In 2015 Sets Record High

The U.S. nuclear power industry notched a record high for reliability in 2015, beating the previous record by one-tenth of a percentage point, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) has estimated.

NEIThe average capacity factor for the year reached 91.9 percent, according to a preliminary estimate. The final data on the year's performance at nuclear power plants will not be released for about two months, various media reports indicate.

The data is a compilation of records from 99 nuclear reactors operating in the country, one less than 2014, due to the closure of Vermont Yankee on Dec. 31, 2014.

Production is off slightly from the record year of 2010, when the generation from 104 U.S. plants peaked at 806.9 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) with a capacity factor of 90.9 percent. Last year, production was at an estimated 797.9 billion kWh. 

Capacity factor is an indication of reliability. It measures electricity produced as a percentage of the full production potential of all operating plants – what could be produced if plants ran at full steam every day of the year.

The data shows the industry's value as a “tremendous asset,” for the country, said NEI Chief Nuclear Officer Anthony Pietrangelo. “U.S. nuclear power plants continue to operate at exceptional levels of safety and reliability, while generating affordable electricity that consumers and our economy rely on. This is due to the hard work and dedication of the highly skilled men and women who work at these facilities and the reactor vendors and suppliers who provide support services,” Pietrangelo said.

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  • I'm so pleased to hear this.

    I'm using 90% capacity factor for calculating the lifetime generation of our 3.26 GW Hinkley Point C EPR:

    When I have this queried in my contretemps with renewables enthusiasts, I will happily link this article about USA nuclear - the home of working LWR technology.