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The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957. Though established independently of the United Nations through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute, the IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. The IAEA has two "Regional Safeguards Offices" which are located in Toronto, Canada, and in Tokyo, Japan. The IAEA also has two liaison offices which are located in New York City, United States, and in Geneva, Switzerland. In addition, the IAEA has three laboratories located in Vienna and Seibersdorf, Austria, and in Monaco.The IAEA serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology and nuclear power worldwide. The programs of the IAEA encourage the development of the peaceful applications of nuclear technology, provide international safeguards against misuse of nuclear technology and nuclear materials, and promote nuclear safety and nuclear security standards and their implementation.The IAEA and its former Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 7 October 2005. The IAEA's current Director General is Yukiya Amano. Wikipedia.

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News Article | February 13, 2017

All future foreign nuclear reactors to be 1200 MW or more (Press Trust India) The government has decided that all future foreign atomic reactors in India will have a capacity to generate 1200 MW and above, in a bid to augment nuclear power generation. “We already have foreign power plants with a capacity of 1000 MWs (Kudankulam). The technology too has advanced that we have reactors with such a capacity. If we are installing them, then might as well have reactors that can generate more power and make optimum use of it,” a senior government official said. The comment stirred immediate interest in the fate and future of plans for Westinghouse to build six AP1000 reactors for NPCIL. The Indian government recently agreed to increase the capacity of six AP-1000 reactors, to be built by USA’s Westinghouse Co in Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh, to 1208 MW each. The six proposed nuclear power reactors to be built by Areva in Jaitapur in Maharashtra will have capacity of 1650 MW each. According to sources, the second site to be allocated to the Russians at Kavali in Andhra Pradesh for its proposed nuclear power park will also have atomic reactors with an enhanced capacity of 1200 MW. The existing VVER reactors built by Russians at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu have a capacity of 1000 MW each. The first two units have been commissioned and Russia will build four more units at the site. Rostom is supply its 1200 MW models to Turkey where there are plans to build four of them at a coastal site. India’s plans for 1200 MW units will be little less than twice the capacity of indigenously developed Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) in the country. The current PHWRs in operation have capacity to generate between 220 MW to 540 MW. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is already constructing its indigenous PHRWs with a capacity of 700 MW. There could be political resistance to this decision. Some interests want India to only build indigenous designs and to keep foreign vendors out of the market. India’s coal mining interests have successfully blocked U.S. vendors from entering the market by supporting the supplier liability law. India faces a shortage of nuclear engineers and does not have a plant to make the large forgings needed to build reactor pressure vessels. Financing is going to be a problem. NPCIL does not have the funding and there are limits to financing from vendors like Westinghouse and Areva. The former is hobbled by the financial troubles of Toshiba, its parent firm. Areva has just been recapitalized by the French government, but is not in a position to finance six new reactors for India. India has explored getting financial support for the Westinghouse reactors from the U.S. Export-Import bank, but Congress is unlikely to raise the bank’s lending authority to cover the the estimated 20 billion, or more, in costs while faced with demands for investments for infrastructure in the nation’s roads and bridges at home. For Westinghouse to proceed with the project it will have to emerge from under the shadow of Toshiba’s financial troubles and settle its disputes with Chicago Bridge & Iron. The firm could thrive if it returns to a role of being a vendor of reactor technology rather than an integrated supplier and EPC firm. That process could take a year or two. (Economic Times) The Department of Atomic Energy will construct two Prototype Fast Breeder Reactors (PFBR) of 600 MW each at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu, besides the present one of 500 MW capacity which is expected to go fully functional by October. “All the construction activities of PFBR have been completed and the integrated commissioning activities have started. PFBR is expected to go fully functional by October 2017. The 500 MW PFBR, which is to be functional by October, will be the first PFBR in the world for commercial use. China’s First Haixang AP1000 To Begin Operation In 2020 (NucNet) The state-run China Daily reports that first nuclear reactor unit at the Haixang nuclear station in Hebei province, northeastern China, is expected to come online by 2020 and will use Westinghouse AP1000 reactor technology. The wire service said construction work began at Haixang last year, although the station is not yet listed in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Power Reactor Information System (Pris) database. In 2014 the project company, China Nuclear Huadian Hebei Nuclear Power Company, said the proposed site has the capacity for six reactor units. The company said it is planning to build Westinghouse AP1000 units, but Westinghouse has not confirmed this or released any information about the project. Westinghouse is supplying eight of its AP1000 reactor units for new-build projects, four in the US and four in China – two at Sanmen and two at Haiyang – and says “dozens more” AP1000 plants are planned around the world. These plans may be disrupted by the financial collapses of Toshiba, its parent corporation. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette) Toshiba Corp., told shareholders to expect a multibillion-dollar impairment in Westinghouse’s value. The write-down is expected to be close to $6 billion and it stems from Westinghouse’s acquisition of a nuclear construction company in 2015. Late last month, Toshiba’s president and CEO, Satoshi Tsunakawa, told reporters that Toshiba is likely to exit the nuclear construction business outside of Japan, which would return Westinghouse to its role as a technology designer and service provider. The firm is expected to make a formal announcement in Tokyo on Feb 14. (NucNet) More than 30 GW of nuclear energy facilities will be under construction in China through the next five years with installed capacity of 58 GW by 2020, up 16.5% year on year, according to the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan for energy development, which the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration have officially issued. For the targets to be reached China will have to build 7-10 reactors a year. China has 37 reactors in commercial operation, 20 under construction and four that have been approved. Its nuclear share of energy generation was 3.03% in 2015, with a target of 6% by 2020 and 9% by 2030. The country is racing to get rid of its coal fired power plants which are responsible, along with industrial pollution, for significant air quality problems in its major cities. China is also planning to build 30 reactors overseas by 2030. According to statistics quoted by Forbes magazine, Chinese construction costs per MW are about one-third of the Flamanville-3 EPR under construction in northern France. The Yangjiang-1 to Yangjiang-6 reactors in China’s southern province of Guangdong are costing about $1.9bn (€1.7bn) each. (WNN) US policymakers understand the potential impact of losing nuclear plants and states are increasingly recognizing the benefits of nuclear power to consumers, the economy and the environment, Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) CEO Maria Korsnick said at its annual briefing to Wall Street analysts Nuclear power is the “backbone” of the USA’s electricity system, providing sustained economic benefits, assuring grid reliability and supplying the country’s largest source of low-carbon energy, Korsnick said. The US nuclear fleet provides about 475,000 jobs and produces more than $12 billion annually in federal and state tax revenues, she added. Korsnick identified two challenges of immediate concern to the US nuclear industry: preserving its existing nuclear fleet, and creating policy conditions under which companies will build and develop new nuclear capacity. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff has completed their safety evaluation for a combined license for a proposed nuclear reactor at the North Anna site near Mineral, Virginia. The Final Safety Evaluation Report found no safety aspects that would preclude the issuance of the requested license. The NRC staff will provide the report and the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to the Commission for the mandatory hearing phase of the licensing process, which will take place later this year. In the hearing, the Commission will determine if the staff’s review supports the findings required to issue a license. The Commission will then vote on whether to approve the license. Dominion Virginia Power submitted the license application on Nov. 26, 2007 to build an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) at the North Anna site. The NRC certified the design in 2014. The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards independently evaluated the safety aspects of the North Anna application. On Nov. 15, 2016, the committee provided the results of its review to the Commission. The NRC issued an Early Site Permit for North Anna in November 2007, and the agency supplemented the permit’s environmental review for the proposed North Anna reactor in March 2010. However, the utility has not announced plans to actually build the reactors. It joins DTE which also got an NRC license for an ESBWR for its FERMI III reactor near Detroit. The licenses are good for 20 years. (NucNet) UK-based Ultra Electronics has successfully completed acceptance testing of the NuScale power module protection system it is developing for US small modular reactor (SMR) developer NuScale Power. The UK-developed system is a critical safety component and will be fundamental to the operation of NuScale’s SMR technology. Factory acceptance tests were carried out at Ultra’s facility in Dorset, southern England, earlier this month. The tests – witnessed by representatives from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) – successfully demonstrated the systems’ ability to handle safety-critical scenarios associated with the operation of NuScale’s SMR technology. The results of the tests will now form part of the NRC’s review of NuScale’s design certification application. In December 2016, NuScale asked the NRC to review and approve its commercial SMR plant design – the first SMR technology developer to do so. NuScale said the unit will be ready for manufacture and deployment in the US and the UK by the mid-2020s. The first plant has been earmarked for a site at the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory. (WNN) Australian and Chinese researchers have made progress in understanding the mechanical properties of a new class of materials for use in molten salt reactors (MSRs). The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (Ansto) said that NiMo-SiC alloys – prepared from nickel molybdenum metal powders with added silicon carbide particles – have superior corrosion resistance and radiation damage resistance. Although there are no commercial MSRs in operation, there is an MSR and thorium energy research and development program at the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (Sinap), with which Antso has a partnership agreement. A number of Ni-MoSiC alloy specimens containing varying amounts of silicon carbide were prepared in Sinap laboratories before being characterized at Antso. “Structural materials for MSRs must demonstrate strength at high temperatures, be radiation resistant and also withstand corrosion,” Antso said. In a paper published in Materials and Design, researchers from the two organizations reported that NiMo-SiC alloys “possess superior mechanical properties owing to the precipitation, dispersion and solid-solution strengthening of the NiMo matrix.” (IEEE Spectrum) An ongoing operation to learn more about the melted nuclear fuel at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan may have helped the decommissioning project—estimated to take up to 40 years—reach an important milestone. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant operator, said that a complicated maneuver employing a 10.5-meter-long telescopic rod with a pan-tilt camera attached has yielded images of a dark mass of rubble inside the containment vessel and under the reactor vessel that houses the nuclear fuel. The images are now being analyzed in an effort to ascertain what the material might be. “If the mass captured on camera is melted nuclear fuel, it would be a big step in helping the decommissioning work,” Yoshiyuki Ishizaki, executive vice president of TEPCO, said on 30 January, following the discovery. Should the presence of nuclear fuel be confirmed, nuclear engineers could then work up a strategy for removing the highly radioactive rubble. However, if the material proves to be part of the damaged pressure vessel, or remains of cables or pipes, then more robot-aided searches of the surrounding area—including the concrete base supporting the containment vessel—will be required.

News Article | February 17, 2017

For most, augmented reality is a type of game—one where they can fight bad guys, fly spaceships, or catch Pokémon in a hybrid environment made up of both virtual and real-life elements. But at Sandia National Laboratory augmented reality has a much bigger purpose—nuclear security. Computer scientists Tam Le and Todd Noel have adapted augmented reality headsets—originally designed for gaming—as part of the physical security training curriculum Sandia provides in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) International Nuclear Security programs. “This technology really enhances our mission, which is to increase and improve the international nuclear security training for those who deal with our nuclear stock piles and weapons and materials,” said Le in an exclusive interview with R&D Magazine. “It really does help to increase and improve this training in so many ways.” Le and Noel have been incorporating augmented reality elements into Sandia’s nuclear training programs since March 2016. Most notably, they’ve updated the International Training Course on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities (ITC), a three-week training session for nuclear materials and facilities professionals worldwide. Trainings are held at Sandia’s Integrated Security Facility, which was originally designed to protect Category I nuclear material, but now serves as a venue for hands-on physical security training. The incorporation of the augmented reality headsets at the facility allows students to peer through walls and see all the processes needed to handle and protect nuclear material, without having to access actual hazardous material. “It allows us to give the user a lot more information that is not normally possible with books and paper,” said Le. “These trainings deal with materials that are either dangerous or difficult to get your hands on. This allows us to do training that we never been able to do before, where the user is handling these types of materials and receiving information that they wouldn’t normally be able to do to easily and safely.” The team also created a camera placement tool that lets users add virtual sensors and cameras, and then see what their fields of view would be in real time in the actual space. This is a very helpful tool  for those training to learn how to set up cameras for physical protection in a nuclear facility, explained Le. The augmented reality headsets also made it easier to gauge if students in the training are understanding and remembering the information they are being taught, said Le. “It allows us this whole layer of being able to communicate and have students be able to show their ideas as well,” he said. “For a lot of the stuff we teach, you can’t measure these concepts with a grade on a test. The communication that comes out of this approach is a way more valuable way to be able to capture what the students learned.” It didn’t require a significant investment in resources for Sandia to update its training program to incorporate augmented reality. The team uses the same software as small game development companies to develop many of their training and analysis tools without having to create everything from scratch. So far, students that have undergone the course with augmented reality training have had positive feedback, said Le. The team plan to incorporate even more augmented reality elements into their program in the coming year. “We did the initial first look at it, but I think it is going to be applicable in a lot more of a training,” said Le. “There are a lot of areas that this can be very advantageous. It is really up to our imaginations. This type of technology really opens up the door for the types of training we can do.”

News Article | February 20, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C., Feb. 20, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Virtual Heroes Division of Applied Research Associates has released a free download of Virtual Nuclear Security, a 3D game set in a nuclear power plant. Virtual Heroes created the game as a training tool for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Players become safeguards inspectors, following fuel bundles through seven stages of a Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) nuclear facility. Training focuses on correctly using safeguards equipment and properly directing the fuel path. The single-player game offers beginner through advanced modes, with opportunities to explore locations such as fuel loading and unloading areas, the reactor hall, and underwater storage. This public release version is designed to engage serious-game enthusiasts, as well as anyone curious about the workings of a nuclear reactor. Says Virtual Heroes Senior Producer Márcia Clover, "We feel honored to have worked with the IAEA on this important project. This virtual training application allows safeguard inspectors, especially more junior ones, to become familiar with a PHWR facility before ever visiting one. This gives them specific information on what to look for when performing a real-world inspection, which makes inspections safer and more effective." Virtual Nuclear Security is available for free download on the Virtual Heroes website: Virtual Heroes has won multiple awards for its simulations, serious games and 3D virtual worlds using AAA game-engine technology to provide interactive learning solutions for healthcare, government customers, and corporate training. More information on Virtual Heroes can be found at Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) was founded 1979 to solve problems of national importance. The company's applied research delivers scientific solutions for national defense, homeland security, aerospace, healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing. With 1,100 Employee Owners at locations in the U.S. and Canada, ARA offers a broad range of technical expertise in defense technologies, computer software and simulation, systems analysis, civil engineering, biomedical engineering, environmental technologies, and blast testing and measurement. The Virtual Heroes Division of Applied Research Associates, Inc. creates collaborative interactive learning solutions for healthcare, federal systems, and corporate training markets. Advanced Learning Technologies (ALT) leverage simulation learning and digital games-based training paradigms to accelerate learning, increase user proficiency, and reduce training costs. Virtual Heroes is located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Orlando, Florida. For more information, please visit: and A photo accompanying this release is available at:

Boulyga S.F.,International Atomic Energy Agency
Mass Spectrometry Reviews | Year: 2010

The variations in the isotopic composition of calcium caused by fractionation in heterogeneous systems and by nuclear reactions can provide insight into numerous biological, geological, and cosmic processes, and therefore isotopic analysis finds a wide spectrum of applications in cosmo- and geochemistry, paleoclimatic, nutritional, and biomedical studies. The measurement of calcium isotopic abundances in natural samples has challenged the analysts for more than three decades. Practically all Ca isotopes suffer from significant isobaric interferences, whereas low-abundant isotopes can be particularly affected by neighboring major isotopes. The extent of natural variations of stable isotopes appears to be relatively limited, and highly precise techniques are required to resolve isotopic effects. Isotope fractionation during sample preparation and measurements and instrumental mass bias can significantly exceed small isotope abundance variations in samples, which have to be investigated. Not surprisingly, a TIMS procedure developed by Russell et al. (Russell et al., 1978. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 42: 1075-1090) for Ca isotope measurements was considered as revolutionary for isotopic measurements in general, and that approach is used nowadays (with small modifications) for practically all isotopic systems and with different mass spectrometric techniques. Nevertheless, despite several decades of calcium research and corresponding development of mass spectrometers, the available precision and accuracy is still not always sufficient to achieve the challenging goals. The present article discusses figures of merits of presently used analytical methods and instrumentation, and attempts to critically assess their limitations. In Sections 2 and 3, mass spectrometric methods applied to precise stable isotope analysis and to the determination of 41Ca are described. Section 4 contains a short summary of selected applications, and includes tracer experiments and the potential use of biological isotope fractionation in medical studies, paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic, and other terrestrial as well as extraterrestrial investigations. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Rehani M.M.,International Atomic Energy Agency
American Journal of Roentgenology | Year: 2013

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this article is to presage the upcoming challenges in the area of radiation protection of patients in imaging for different stakeholders, such as dosimetrists, radiation biologists, patients, referring physicians, radiologists, radiographers, medical physicists, and manufacturers. CONCLUSION. Most of the challenges facing different stakeholders are actually based on the contribution required from industry; thus, manufacturers play the greatest role in making patients safer in this century. © American Roentgen Ray Society.

Groning M.,International Atomic Energy Agency
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry | Year: 2011

The calibration of all δ2H and δ18O measurements on the VSMOW/SLAP scale should be performed consistently, based on similar principles, independent of the instrumentation used. The basic principles of a comprehensive calibration strategy are discussed taking water as example. The most common raw data corrections for memory and drift effects are described. Those corrections result in a considerable improvement in data consistency, especially in laboratories analyzing samples of quite variable isotopic composition (e.g. doubly labelled water). The need for a reliable uncertainty assessment for all measurements is discussed and an easy implementation method proposed. A versatile evaluation method based on Excel macros and spreadsheets is presented. It corrects measured raw data for memory and drift effects, performs the calibration and calculates the combined standard uncertainty for each measurement. It allows the easy implementation of the discussed principles in any user laboratory. Following these principles will improve the comparability of data among laboratories. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Kellett M.A.,International Atomic Energy Agency
Applied Radiation and Isotopes | Year: 2012

Organised under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency, comprehensive decay scheme evaluations for over eighty actinides and their decay products have been completed on the basis of detailed assessments of the available experimental data. However, despite the application of sound evaluation procedures, such work cannot replace the need to perform and access good quality measurements for adoption. This evaluation programme provided a means of quantifying the quality of the underlying data to ensure that well-focused recommendations could be made for future experimental decay-data studies. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Smith D.L.,Argonne National Laboratory | Otuka N.,International Atomic Energy Agency
Nuclear Data Sheets | Year: 2012

This paper has been written to provide experimental nuclear data researchers and data compilers with practical guidance on dealing with experimental nuclear reaction data uncertainties. It outlines some of the properties of random variables as well as principles of data uncertainty estimation, and illustrates them by means of simple examples which are relevant to the field of nuclear data. Emphasis is placed on the importance of generating mathematical models (or algorithms) that can adequately represent individual experiments for the purpose of estimating uncertainties in their results. Several types of uncertainties typically encountered in nuclear data experiments are discussed. The requirements and procedures for reporting information on measurement uncertainties for neutron reaction data, so that they will be useful in practical applications, are addressed. Consideration is given to the challenges and opportunities offered by reports, conference proceedings, journal articles, and computer libraries as vehicles for reporting and documenting numerical experimental data. Finally, contemporary formats used to compile reported experimental covariance data in the widely used library EXFOR are discussed, and several samples of EXFOR files are presented to demonstrate their use. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

News Article | February 24, 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gives a press conference in Tehran on Jaunary 17, 2017, to mark the first anniversary of the implementation of the historic nuclear deal (AFP Photo/ATTA KENARE) Vienna (AFP) - Iran is complying with the landmark nuclear deal it sealed with major world powers in 2015, according to a report from the UN watchdog seen by AFP on Friday. The International Atomic Energy Agency addressed key limits set under the agreement, which is under intense scrutiny after the election of US President Donald Trump. The report said Iran is not pursuing construction of its existing heavy water research reactor and has not enriched uranium above an agreed 3.67 percent-limit. And Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium -- which can be used for peaceful purposes, but when further processed for a nuclear weapon -- was 101.7 kilos (225 pounds), well below the agreed level of 300 kilos. Senior diplomats said that Tehran recently came close to reaching the limit. Another key condition concerns Iran's level of so-called heavy water, a modified form of water used in certain types of nuclear reactors. The IAEA's latest report said Iran has not exceeded the permitted level of 130 tonnes, as it did briefly during previous periods. Plutonium for use in nuclear weapons can be extracted from fuel rods used in heavy water reactors. In November 2016, the atomic watchdog noted that Iran had crept above the 130-tonne limit. Tehran shipped out the excess amount and its current stock was just above 124 tonnes, the latest report said. "Iran has not conducted any uranium enrichment or related research and development activities" at its Fordo nuclear plant, the IAEA added. Verification has continued as agreed, according to the UN watchdog's fifth quarterly assessment since the pact was struck. Under the accord, Iran dramatically scaled back nuclear activities to put atomic weapons out of its reach -- an aim Tehran always denied having -- in exchange for the relief of crippling sanctions. The agreement extends to at least a year the length of time Tehran would need to make one nuclear bomb's worth of fissile material -- up from a few months prior. Steps taken by Iran included slashing by two-thirds its uranium centrifuges, cutting its stockpile of uranium -- several tonnes before the deal, enough for several bombs -- and removing the core of the Arak reactor which could have given Iran weapons-grade plutonium. But the pact, endorsed by the European Union, has been on shaky ground since the inauguration of Trump, who on the campaign trail last year called it the "worst deal ever negotiated". Tensions between Iran and the United States have been backsliding for months but worsened after Tehran carried out a missile test on January 29, followed by army drills. The White House responded by slapping fresh sanctions on Iran's weapons procurement network. Tehran insists that its military power is for "purely defensive" purposes.

News Article | February 14, 2017

There are currently 449 operating nuclear reactors in 31 countries, with a total installed generating capacity of more than 390,000 megawatts (MW), based on data from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Nuclear power plants differ in various ways including reactor types, vessel containments, cooling methods, and dispatch purposes. The largest nuclear plant in the United States, the Palo Verde plant near Phoenix, Arizona, ranks as the ninth-largest operating nuclear plant in the world and has the highest capacity factor among large nuclear plants. The list of the largest nuclear plants has changed in recent years. Three plants in Japan, each with a generating capacity of more than 4,000 MW, were suspended from operation following the accident at Fukushima Daiichi and, like nearly all of Japan’s existing nuclear plants, are not currently generating electricity. Other countries, especially China, are adding large nuclear plants. For instance, the Hongyanhe plant near Dalian, China, had a capacity of 3,183 MW at the end of 2015 but, with the startup of another 1,000 MW reactor in 2016, the plant’s capacity now totals 4,183 MW, with another two reactors under construction. With the idling of Japan’s 7,965 MW Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, located on Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada, is currently the world’s largest operating nuclear power plant. Bruce has eight reactors, configured as two separate facilities operating four reactor units each, and has a combined installed capacity of 6,274 MW. Of the top ten operating nuclear plants in the world, the United States’ Palo Verde plant has the fewest number of reactors (three) but has the highest capacity factor, a measure of plant utilization. Plants that operate more have higher capacity factors and produce more electricity per unit of generating capacity. Based on the most recent five years of data (2011–15), Palo Verde’s capacity factor averaged 92%, while other large nuclear plants’ capacity factors ranged from 73% to 88%. Over the past 15 years, nuclear capacity factors in the United States have typically remained above 90%, which is higher than nuclear plants in other regions of the world. The duration of refueling and maintenance outages is a significant factor in why U.S. capacity factors are so high. Nuclear reactors undergo routine maintenance and refueling outages about once every 18 to 24 months. Although a nuclear reactor can be refueled in as little as 10 days, outages often last longer, as operators conduct other noncritical maintenance work simultaneously to minimize overall operational downtime. In the United States, the average duration of refueling outages has been steadily declining. In the early 1990s, refueling-related outages lasted nearly three months. In spring 2016, refueling outages in the United States averaged 29 days. Using data from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, EIA maintains a tool displaying the daily operating status of each nuclear plant in the United States.

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