The amount of nuclear-generated electricity in the OECD area declined by 5.2% between 2011 and 2012, according to the Brown Book of nuclear energy data published by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency. Total electricity generation fell 0.1% over the same period.
There were 331 operational reactors in the OECD as of 31 December: 215 pressurized water reactors, 78 boiling water reactors, 23 heavy water reactors and 15 gas-cooled reactors. Most of the units (133) were located in Europe, with 125 in the Americas (US, Canada and Mexico) and 73 in the Pacific region (South Korea and Japan).
Total nuclear generation amounted to 1884 TWh in 2012, a fall from 1988 TWh in 2011, according to the publication, dubbed the 'Brown Book.' Total electricity generation fell just 0.1% from 4823.1 TWh in 2011 to 4818.1 TWh in 2012.
Nuclear generation in 2012 totalled 869.3 TWh in the Americas, 849.0 TWh in Europe and 165.7 TWh in the Pacific region.
OECD nuclear share
The overall share of electricity production from nuclear power plants in the OECD also decreased from 19.9% in 2011 to 18.9% in 2012.
"Record electricity production at nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic and Hungary, combined with increased production in Canada, France, Spain and Sweden balanced, to some extent, declining production in Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States," the book says.
The nuclear share in the Americas region was around 19% in 2012, compared with 24% in OECD Europe and just over 10% in the Pacific region. France had the highest percentage of nuclear generated electricity - 77.8% in 2012. Japan had the lowest at just 1.9% as only two of its 50 reactors (Ohi 3&4) operated during 2012.
Overall, net nuclear power generation capacity increased by 0.7% from 300.7 GWe (net) in 2011 to 302.9 GWe in 2012. Three reactors were permanently shutdown in 2012: Oldbury 1 and Wylfa 2 in the UK plus Gentilly 2 in Canada. However, two units began commercial operation in the Republic of Korea (Shin-Kori 2 and Shin-Wolsong 1) and three reactors in Canada were brought back into service after refurbishment.
Nineteen reactors were under construction in the OECD in 2012, according to the Brown Book, although construction of four units in Japan has at least been temporarily halted.
In addition, 23 reactors were considered 'firmly committed to construction,' including the first four in Turkey to be built at the Akkuyu site on the Meditterranen coast.
A total of 51.6 GWe of nuclear generating capacity would be added to electricity grids in the OECD area, should both groups of units be completed.
Nine reactors are expected to be retired from service in the OECD area by 2018, reducing capacity by a total of 7.1 GWe, the report said.
Preliminary unofficial data suggests that global uranium production increased by about 6% to 58 000 tU in 2012 from 54 670 tU in 2011, led by production increases in Kazakhstan and Australia.