Topic 01. Current condition of nuclear energy

1. Decommissioning The situation in the world


Russia and the United States were pioneers of the use of nuclear reactors to generate energy for commercial purposes. As a consequence, these countries face first the need for safe decommissioning of a large number of power reactors.

Currently, the question of decommissioning of nuclear power units has become critical for nuclear energy around the world.
The decommissioning of nuclear power plants may be motivated by:

  • end of the planned life cycle;
  • an accident, after which the operation is impossible or impractical;
  • changes in the requirements of reliability and safety of operation that are impossible or impractical to meet within the existing structure;
  • political situation in the country;
  • uneconomical operation.

On June 30, 2012, the IAEA reported 435 operating reactors with a total capacity of over 370 GW, providing 17% of the world's electricity needs. By 2010, half of them were aged 25 years or more. see Table 1
In the US, only one new reactor is currently being built, the first in 20 years. In the next 10
years, according to specialists, at least 25 old reactors will be shut down in the United States,
the operation of which is simply unprofitable. Experts predict that the high cost of
decommissioning end-of-age nuclear power plants and final disposal of radioactive waste in
the near future will present large difficulties for electric supply companies in the U.S.
In Russia, more than 20 units of the 33 actively functioning are operating beyond their original service life. In the coming years it will be necessary to remove them from use. see Table 2

Таблица 1. Текущее состояние типов реакторов


Энергетические атомные реакторы в России

Cтарейшие АЭС мира, выведенные из эксплуатации (данные на 2005 г.)

According to the IAEA as of December 2011, 124 power reactors have been shut down. Of these, 16 have been fully dismantled, 50 were in the process of being dismantling, 49 were kept in a safe enclosure mode, 3 were being conserved, and 6 reactors had not yet received a strategy for decommissioning.


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