International Association (NGO)
To further promote the exchange of experience and sharing of information regarding safe practice and technology development of nuclear energy, AEC encourages and support its personnel to join nuclear professional societies and actively participate in international meetings and conferences held by international nuclear organizations.
Staff members and management have been energetically associated with such organizations as the Pacific Nuclear Council (PNC), the International Nuclear Societies Council (INSC), the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF), the American Nuclear Society (ANS), the European Nuclear Society (ENS), U.S. Health Physics Society, WIN (Women in Nuclear) Global, World Institute of Nuclear Security (WINS), Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Fissile Material Working Group (FMWG), and etc.
International Organization & Countries
European Union Council announced in 24 March 2011that all the nuclear power plants in European Union should experience safety examination. Since June 2011, European Nuclear Safety Regulatory Group (ENSREG) and Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA) have been conducting stress tests on nuclear power plants in EU. European Commission is expected to present a final report based on the national reports submitted by participant countries by the end of 2011. The final report will be an important reference to future nuclear policy for European Commission. Besides member states of EU, the participants also include Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Croatia, Slovenia, Belarus, and Turkey.
United States of America
The USA is the world's largest producer of nuclear power, accounting for more than 30% of worldwide nuclear generation of electricity. The country's 100 nuclear reactors produced 798 billion kWh in 2014, over 19% of total electrical output. There are now 99 units operable (98.7 GWe) and five under construction. Following a 30-year period in which few new reactors were built, it is expected that six new units may come on line by 2020, four of those resulting from 16 license applications made since mid-2007 to build 24 new nuclear reactors. However, lower gas prices since 2009 have put the economic viability of some existing reactors and proposed projects in doubt. Government policy changes since the late 1990s have helped pave the way for significant growth in nuclear capacity. At the White House summit on nuclear energy, held on November 6, 2015, the Administration announced that the Department of Energy’s existing solicitation of $12.5 billion in loan guarantees available to support innovative nuclear energy projects would be supplemented.
France derives about 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy, due to a long-standing policy based on energy security. This share is to be reduced to 50% by 2025. France is the world's largest net exporter of electricity due to its very low cost of generation, and gains over EUR 3 billion per year from this. France has been very active in developing nuclear technology. Reactors and fuel products and services are a major export. It is building its first Generation III reactor. About 17% of France's electricity is from recycled nuclear fuel. On September 3, 2015, EDF announced a new timetable sets out for Flamanville EPR: Installation of the primary circuit is to be completed in the first quarter of 2016, while system performance testing will begin a year later after all electromechanical work has been completed. The loading of fuel and start up of the reactor is now expected to take place in the last quarter of 2018.
Japan needs to import about 84% of its energy requirements. Its first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in mid-1966, and nuclear energy has been a national strategic priority since 1973. This came under review following the 2011 Fukushima accident but has been confirmed. The country's 50+ main reactors have provided some 30% of the country's electricity and this was expected to increase to at least 40% by 2017. The prospect now is for at least half of this, from a depleted fleet. Currently 43 reactors are operable and potentially able to restart, and 24 of these are in the process of restart approvals. The first two restarted in August and October 2015.
Russia is moving steadily forward with plans for much expanded role of nuclear energy, including development of new reactor technology. An average of one large reactor per year is due to come on line to 2028 balancing retired capacity. Efficiency of nuclear generation in Russia has increased dramatically since the mid-1990s. Over 20 nuclear power reactors are confirmed or planned for export construction, including most recent 4 reactors in Turkey and 2 reactors in Vietnam. Exports of nuclear goods and services are a major Russian policy and economic objective. Russia is a world leader in fast neutron reactor technology. On December 10, 2015, the first BN-800 fast neutron reactor, Unit 4 of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant, in the Sverdlovsk district of Russia has been connected to the national grid.
Mainland China has 30 nuclear power reactors in operation, 24 under construction, and more about to start construction. Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world's most advanced, to give more than a three-fold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 58 GWe by 2020, then some 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050. The impetus for increasing nuclear power share in China is increasingly due to air pollution from coal-fired plants. China's policy is for closed fuel cycle. China has become largely self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle, but is making full use of western technology while adapting and improving it. China's policy is to "go global" with exporting nuclear technology including heavy components in the supply chain. On March 10, 2015, the Chinese government has approved construction of two more units at the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in Liaoning province, marking the first approval for new reactors four years after the Japan Fukushima accident.
South Korea is a major world nuclear energy country, exporting technology. It is building four nuclear reactors in UAE, under a $20 billion contract. 24 reactors provide about one-third of South Korea's electricity from 21.6 GWe of plant. Considerable new capacity is planned by 2035. Nuclear energy remains a strategic priority for South Korea, and capacity is planned to increase by 59% to 32.9 GWe by 2022, and then maintain that level to 2035. Currently, Korea is building four reactors for United Arab Emirates (UAE). The country is seeking relief from treaty commitments with the USA which currently constrain its fuel cycle options. The first APR-1400 Unit 3 of South Korea's Shin Kori nuclear power plant was connected to the grid on January 15, 2016 and has started supplying electricity.
India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power program and expects to have 14.6 GWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050. Because India is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty due to its weapons program, it was for 34 years largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials, which has hampered its development of civil nuclear energy until 2009. Due to earlier trade bans and lack of indigenous uranium, India has uniquely been developing a nuclear fuel cycle to exploit its reserves of thorium. Since 2010, a fundamental incompatibility between India’s civil liability law and international conventions limits foreign technology provision. India has a vision of becoming a world leader in nuclear technology due to its expertise in fast reactors and thorium fuel cycle.
About 15% of Canada's electricity comes from nuclear power, with 19 reactors mostly in Ontario providing 13.5 GWe of power capacity. Canada had plans to expand its nuclear capacity over the next decade by building two more new reactors, but these have been deferred. For many years Canada has been a leader in nuclear research and technology, exporting reactor systems developed in Canada as well as a high proportion of the world supply of radioisotopes used in medical diagnosis and cancer therapy. In December 2015, Bruce Power and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) have entered into an amended, long-term agreement, in life-extension activities for units 3-8 to support a long-term refurbishment program that will commence on unit 6 in 2020.
The UK has 15 reactors generating about 18% of its electricity and all but one of these will be retired by 2023. The country has full fuel cycle facilities including major reprocessing plants. The UK has implemented a very thorough assessment process for new reactor designs and their siting. The first of some 19 GWe of new-generation plants are expected to be on line by 2023. The government aims to have 16 GWe of new nuclear capacity operating by 2030, with no restriction on foreign equity. Each of three major projects involved in new nuclear build has a reactor vendor involved – 10%, 60% and 100% of equity respectively. In October 2015, China has agreed to take a one-third stake in the project to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in the UK.
Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy – it has 15 reactors generating about half of its electricity. Ukraine receives most of its nuclear services and nuclear fuel from Russia, but is reducing this dependence by buying fuel from Westinghouse. In 2004 Ukraine commissioned two large new reactors. The government plans to maintain nuclear share in electricity production to 2030, which will involve substantial new build. The government is looking to the West for both technology and investment in its nuclear plants. In December 2015, the board of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) has approved a 10-year life extension of unit 2 of the South Ukraine nuclear power plant until the end of 2025.
Sweden has 9 operating nuclear power reactors providing about 40% of its electricity. In 1980, the government decided to phase out nuclear power. In June 2010, Parliament voted to repeal this policy. The country's 1997 energy policy allowed 10 reactors to operate longer than envisaged by the 1980 phase-out policy, but also resulted in the premature closure of a two-unit plant (1.2 GWe). Some 1.6 GWe was subsequently added in uprates to the remaining ten reactors. In 2015 decisions were made to close four older reactors by 2020, removing 2.7 GWe net. Sweden has a tax discriminating against nuclear power – now about 0.67 Euro cents/kWh, which makes up about one-third of the operating cost of nuclear power. Wind and biomass are subsidized by about three times that.
Germany until March 2011 obtained one quarter of its electricity from nuclear energy, using 17 reactors. The figure is now about 16%. A coalition government formed after the 1998 federal elections had the phasing out of nuclear energy as a feature of its policy. With a new government in 2009, the phase-out was cancelled, but then reintroduced in 2011, with eight reactors shut down immediately. The cost of attempting to replace nuclear power with renewables is estimated by the government to amount to some €1000 billion without any assurance of a reliable outcome, and with increasing reliance on coal, especially lignite. Public opinion in Germany remains broadly opposed to nuclear power with virtually no support for building new nuclear plants. More than half of Germany’s electricity was generated from coal. Germany has some of the lowest wholesale electricity prices in Europe and some of the highest retail prices, due to its energy policies. Taxes and surcharges account for more than half the domestic electricity price.
Belgium has seven nuclear reactors generating about half of its electricity. Belgium's first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1974. There has been little government support for nuclear energy, and nuclear power generation, the lowest-cost source of power, incurs a € 0.5 cent/kWh tax 2014. In July 2015 an amendment was passed to enable Doel 1 and 2 to operate for a further 10 years provided regulatory approval was granted. This means that Doel 1 would close on February 15, 2025, and Doel 2 on 1 December 1, 2025.
Spain's seven nuclear power reactors generated 57.3 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in 2014, accounting for one-fifth of the country's electricity. Its first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1968. There are plans for renewed uranium mining. Government commitment to the future of nuclear energy in Spain has been uncertain, but has firmed up as the cost of subsidizing renewable becomes unaffordable.
The Czech Republic has six nuclear reactors generating about one-third of its electricity. Its first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1985. Government commitment to the future of nuclear energy is strong, but plans for new nuclear capacity are stalled, but policy calls for a substantial increase by 2040.
Switzerland has 5 nuclear reactors generating 40% of its electricity. Two large new units were planned. A national vote had confirmed nuclear energy as part of Switzerland's electricity mix. In June 2011 parliament resolved not to replace any reactors, and hence to phase out nuclear power by 2034, despite continuing strong public support for nuclear power.
Finland has four nuclear reactors providing nearly 30% of its electricity. A fifth reactor is now under construction and two more are planned. Construction of the Olkiluoto-3 started in May 2005 but delays have been encountered, particularly on the reactor section. Testing of the instrumentation and control (I&C) systems began at the unit on 12 January, 2016. The unit is expected to start up by 2018. Provisions for radioactive waste disposal are well advanced.
Hungary has four nuclear reactors generating more than one-third of its electricity. Its first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1982. The Hungarian Parliament has expressed overwhelming support for building two new power reactors, and a contract has been signed for these.
Slovakia has four nuclear reactors generating half of its electricity and two more under construction. Slovakia's first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1972. Government commitment to the future of nuclear energy is strong.
Argentina has three nuclear reactors generating about one-tenth of its electricity. Its first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1974. Construction has started on a small locally-designed power reactor prototype, CAREM-25. The next two reactors planned are to be built by China National Nuclear Corporation.
There's one reactor operating in Metsamor nuclear power plant in Armenia. EU and Turkey are concerned about the safety of the plant, but since Armenia relies heavily on Metsamor's electricity supply, there's no possible decommission plan in the near future. A Russia-Armenia joint venture is planning a construction project of another reactor in Metsamor. The Fukushima accident did not change the plan.
Currently there are 2 operating nuclear power plants in Bulgaria located in Kozlodui near Danube River. There’s also one plant under construction in Belene. The geological structure of Belene is relatively unstable. Therefore after the Fukushima accident, Bulgarian government agreed to postpone the construction in Belene and is considering the possibility to build a new plant in Kozlodui in place of the one in Belene.
Republic of China (Taiwan)
Taiwan has six nuclear power reactors operating, and providing one-quarter of base-load power, generating 40.77 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in 2014. The nuclear share of electricity generation increased from 16.5 % in 2013 to 18.6% in 2014. Two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) have been under construction since 1999, but this project is suspended. In January 2014 Taiwan Power Company (TPC) said unit 1 would come into operation in 2015 and unit 2 in 2017. "Full testing" of systems in unit 1 should be complete in June 2014. However, in April 2014 in response to political discord the government announced that unit 1 would be mothballed once testing was complete, and construction of unit 2 would be halted. TPC has subsequently submitted the "Deferral and Layup Program of Lungmen" in September, 2014, and approved by AEC in January, 2015. In August of 2015, TPC formally notified AEC that Lungmen plant to enter the deferral state and to apply the deferral QA program. A referendum on the future of the plant would be held, but no date has been set.