German nuclear power plants were once again international leaders in 2005 where performance, availability and reliability are concerned. The German Brokdorf nuclear power plant became world electricity production champion, boasting an annual production figure of 11.98 billion kilowatt hours (kWh). Among the world-wide top ten electricity-producing plants, six were located in Germany. In total, with an annual electricity production figure of around 163 billion kWh, the 17 German nuclear power plants1 achieved once again a top result.
Regarding the contribution that an energy source can make to supply security, it is not only the amount of electricity generated that is important but also - and above all - its around-the-clock availability, the so-called base load supply capacity. The average availability of the German nuclear power plants was above 88% in 2005. Thanks to this quality feature, nuclear power - which is a competitive energy source - provides approx. 48% of base load supplies, i. e. the biggest share of all energy sources. The other energy sources used in Germany for base load supply are lignite and river water (hydropower).
Internationally, CO2-free electricity generation from nuclear power is clearly on the up. There are 444 nuclear power plant presently in operation in 31 countries, and 23 plants are currently under construction in 10 different countries. On top of that, 38 further reactors units are being planned around the globe until about the year 2020. Several countries are deliberating on building new nuclear power plants, among them the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Poland. In several industrialised nations, operating lifetimes of existing nuclear power plants have been extended to 60 years, or plants that had already been closed down were taken back into operation, as in Canada. These developments clearly show the indisputable advantages of the peaceful use of nuclear power: supply security, competitiveness and environmental compatibility.
1 18 Nuclear power plants until 11.5.2005 when Obrigheim NPP was shut down.