CANDU 6 shares the load with light water reactors in China and South Korea

July 17, 2014

By: Donald Jones, P.Eng., retired nuclear industry engineer – 2014 July

There are two CANDU 6 reactors in China and four in South Korea in a growing sea of pressurized light water reactors. It will be interesting to see how they are performing while operating in the same regulatory environment and safety culture as the other units on the power grid. Performance will be related to the lifetime capacity factor/load factor at the end of year 2013. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) publishes statistics on all the world’s power reactors in its Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) database.

China

As of the end of 2013 China had 17 operating nuclear power plants, two them of the CANDU 6 type. As of 2014 July China had 20 units in operation with 28 under construction, more about to start construction and more planned. China aims to have 58,000 MW of installed nuclear capacity by 2020, 150,000 MW by 2030 and much more by 2050. For perspective the US has about 100,000 MW installed and Ontario about 13,000 MW. All China’s nuclear units, except for the two French units at Daya Bay and the Chinese designed CNP-300 at Qinshan, entered commercial operation after 2002 and have excellent lifetime capacity factors. The average lifetime capacity factor for the 17 operating units was 88.3 percent. China is now largely self sufficient in power plant design and construction. For anyone interested in China’s massive nuclear plant expansion see, Nuclear Power in China (reference 1).

There are two Russian VVER V-428, each 1060 MWe gross, that went into commercial operation between 2007 May and 2007 August. The average lifetime capacity factor at the end of 2013 was 86.3 percent.

There are four French three loop Framatome (now Areva) units each of around 990 MWe gross that went into commercial operation between 1994 February and 2003 January, the first two units are at Daya Bay with most of their output feeding Hong Kong. The average lifetime capacity factor was 86.4 percent.

China’s four CPR-1000 units each of around 1080 MWe gross are significantly upgraded from Framatome’s Daya Bay and subsequent units and went into service between 2010 September and 2013 June. The average lifetime capacity factor was an excellent 92 percent for these relatively new units. More of these units will be built but not as many as envisaged before the Fukushima event. Instead China is working with Westinghouse in the construction of four, Generation III+, AP1000 units (1,250 MWe gross) with many more to follow and plans to develop its own CAP1000 version and eventually a larger CAP1400.

China’s four CNP-600 units (and one CNP-300) each of around 650 MWe gross are based on early Framatome two loop design work and are all located at the Qinshan site. They went into commercial service between 2002 April and 2011 December. The average lifetime capacity factor was 87.6 percent. China’s first indigenously designed nuclear plant, a two loop CNP-300 unit of 310 MWe gross also at the Qinshan site, had a lifetime capacity factor of 81.1 percent.

The two Canadian CANDU 6 units are each 728 MWe gross at the Qinshan site and went into commercial service between 2002 December and 2003 July. The average lifetime capacity factor was 91.6 percent for these relatively old (for China, anyway) units at the end of 2013. The average capacity factor for the 15 pressurized light water reactors in China was 87.9 percent and if the two CANDU 6 units are included it would be 88.3 percent, an excellent performance by the Chinese nuclear fleet.

South Korea Read the rest of this entry »


Performance of Ontario’s CANDU nuclear generating stations in 2013

July 3, 2014

By: Donald Jones, P.Eng., retired nuclear industry engineer, 2014 July

At the end of 2013 Darlington had a four unit average lifetime capacity factor of 84.3 percent and an annual capacity factor of 82.2 percent. Bruce B had a four unit average lifetime capacity factor of 83.4 percent and an annual capacity factor of 86.5 percent. Pickering B had a four unit average lifetime capacity factor of 76.8 percent and an annual capacity factor also of 76.8 percent. Very respectable performances.
The raw performance data (assumed to be capacity factor data), in-service dates, and MWe capacity used in this article are taken from the Nuclear Canada Yearbook 2014 (reference 1).
The performance of the CANDU 6 reactors is described in, Pedigree of the Enhanced CANDU 6 (EC6) proposed for Darlington B (reference 2).

The performance of some of Ontario’s nuclear generating stations is affected by the surplus of (unreliable) generation in the province (reference 3). The surplus usually arises because of intermittent wind generation coming in at times of low demand and wind generation is expected to increase even more over the next several years. Some nuclear units saw electricity output reductions during periods of surplus baseload generation (SBG). This means the capacity factors are lower than they could have been for those units. A better metric of performance in these cases would be the capability factor, used by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) for Darlington and Pickering and by Bruce Power for the Bruce A and B stations. The capability factor adjusts for external events beyond the control of the plant operators that reduce the energy output of the plant, like SBG and transmission constraints. However it makes little environmental, economic or technical sense to reduce output from low cost zero greenhouse gas emitting nuclear stations to accommodate expensive wind generation on the grid. Read the rest of this entry »