23 Feb (NucNet): Switzerland’s fleet of five commercial nuclear reactors generated 20.3 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2016, a decrease of about 1.8 TWh on the previous year, Swiss nuclear industry trade association Swissnuclear said in a statement.
Overall, nuclear energy’s contribution to total Swiss electricity generation in 2016 decreased by 8.6% compared to 2015, the statement said. According to Swissnuclear, the generation results were lower than expected because of prolonged outages and safety inspections at the Leibstadt and Beznau-1 nuclear power units.
The average time availability of the Swiss reactor fleet was 68.3% in 2016, while in 2015 it was 70.1%, Swissnuclear said. The units Beznau-2, Gösgen, and Mühleberg have been online respectively 96.5%, 93.7%, and 92.9% of the time in 2016, all showing figures higher than those in 2015. On the lower end, Leibstadt’s availability was at 58.6% in 2016, while Beznau-1 has not been online at all.
Beznau-1 is the world’s oldest operating commercial reactor unit. It entered operation in September 1969.
Beznau-1 went offline in 2015 for a major planned overhaul, but later came under the scrutiny of the Swiss nuclear regulator over the possible presence of abnormalities in the carbon concentration of steel in some essential reactor components, produced at Areva’s Le Creusot forge facility in France and at Japan Casting and Forging Corporation in Japan.
The single-unit Leibstadt nuclear plant has been in prolonged maintenance outage since August 2016 over suspected oxidation problems on the cladding material of some fuel rods.
The unit was cleared for a conditional restart earlier this week.