One more reactor has begun operation since the report was written, bringing the total as of September to 409.
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2020 said the “big five” nuclear generating countries – the US, France, China, Russia and South Korea – again generated 70% of all nuclear electricity in 2019.
It said two countries, the US and France, accounted for 45% of 2019 global nuclear production. This was two percentage points lower than in 2018 as France’s output shrank by 3.5%.
China continues to expand its nuclear power sector, albeit at a much slower pace than the nation’s renewable sector, the report concluded. As of mid-2020, China had 47 reactors in operation, with a total generating capacity of 45.5 GW.
Six reactors started up in 2019, three in Russia, two in China, one in South Korea. According to the report this was seven less than scheduled at the beginning of the year. Five units were closed.
Russia is involved in 15 of the 52 construction projects in eight of the 17 countries building nuclear plants.
The report said that in 2019, construction began on six reactors – four in China and one each in Russia and the UK – and in the first half of 2020 on one, at Akkuyu in Turkey. These were the first construction starts of commercial reactors in China since December 2016. This compares to 15 construction starts in 2010 and 10 in 2013. Construction starts peaked in 1976 at 44.
The report said the mean age of the world’s nuclear fleet has increased steadily since 1984 and now stands at about 31 years with 20% reaching 41 years or more.
Nuclear energy’s share of global gross electricity generation increased from 10.15% in 2018 to 10.35% in 2019.