Nuclear, Reactors

Nuclear plants exceed goals

Issue 7 and Volume 101.

Nuclear plantsexceed goals

U.S. nuclear power plants operated at high levels of safety and reliability in 1996 as they progressed toward meeting performance goals for the year 2000, according to information released by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO).

The 1996 World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) performance indicators show that U.S. nuclear power plants continued to operate at 1995`s all-time-high safety level and maintained record reliability in production. Nuclear plants again reduced the number of unplanned automatic shutdowns to a new low and were safer workplaces.

INPO was established by the nuclear utility industry in 1979 with a mission of promoting safety and reliability in the operation of nuclear generating plants. WANO, the international safety organization, was established in 1989 and adopted the U.S. industry`s performance indicators for use by nuclear utilities worldwide.

U.S. plants had a median capability factor of 82.5 percent, compared with a goal of 87 percent for 2000. Unplanned automatic shutdowns declined to a median of 0.8 shutdowns per unit last year, better than the goal of one per unit for 2000.

Nuclear plants achieved an accident rate lower than the electrical services industry or the private sector as a whole with a rate of 0.46 accidents per 200,000 work-hours–the lowest since INPO began collecting this data. The goal for 2000 is 0.40 accidents.

Nuclear plants exceeded the industry`s goals for minimizing radioactive waste, with pressurized water reactors (PWR) producing a median volume of 36 cubic meters (m3) of solid low-level waste in 1996 and boiling water reactors (BWR) producing a median volume of 104 m3. Goals for 2000 are 45 m3 for PWRs and 125 m3 for BWRs.

There are 109 nuclear plants in the United States, meeting 20 percent of the total U.S. electricity needs. Additional information on the report is available from the Nuclear Energy Institute on the Internet at