Hitachi ABWR – One Of The Least Reliable In The World

It has been proposed that Hitachi Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) be build at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. The UK Parliament has been informed that

“…the ABWR reactors in both Japan and Taiwan were built on time and to budget.”1

First of all let us have a look at the power plants in Japan. I have not looked into the statement about whether they were built ‘on time and to budget’. However, it is clear from the data from the International Atomic Energy Agency2 that they do not work correctly:

Reactor Capacity Factor(Energy Availability Factor)
HAMAOKA-5 49.2%
KASHIWAZAKI KARIWA-6 47.2%
KASHIWAZAKI KARIWA-7 47.9%
SHIKA-2 42.7%

They were producing less than 50% of the energy they were expected to. According to the GE Hitachi Specification they should have a greater than 90% Capacity Factor3.

The ABWR at Longmen in Taiwan is still under construction and is over budget and subject to large delays4. There are also serious concerns over the safety of the plant both from the risk of earthquakes and Tsunami as well as poor construction and design5.

This concerns have given a rise to a large number of people opposing nuclear power in Taiwan with the BBC reporting over 200,000 people taking part in a anti-nuclear protest6.


1 Building New Nuclear: the challenges ahead – Energy and Climate Change, House of Commons, February 2013 (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmenergy/117/11705.htm)

2 Nuclear Power Reactors in the World, IAEA, 21012 (http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/RDS2-32_web.pdf)

3 Advanced Boiling Water Reactor – ABWR, GE Hitachi (http://www.ge-energy.com/products_and_services/products/nuclear_energy/advanced_boiling_water_reactor_abwr.jsp)

4 Taiwan’s nuclear nightmare?, Global Post, March 2012 (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/120305/taiwan-nuclear-power-plant-longmen-lungmen)

5 DPP legislators cite 9 ‘time bombs’ at 4th Nuclear Power Plant, Focus Taiwan, March 2013 (http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aall/201303050024.aspx)

6 Taiwan: Protests over nuclear power plants, BBC News Asia March 2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21737682)

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