Projections of nuclear generation capacity to 2030 show that about 160 reactors globally could be retired by then on the basis of their original design lifetimes. Without extension, nuclear capacity could fall dramatically in the next decade. Refurbishments and lifetime extension of existing nuclear power plants are thus important for the competitiveness of the nuclear industry in NEA countries.
Independent of long-term operation, equipment in nuclear power plants needs to be upgraded regularly following technological progress and to fulfil new requirements. These requirements are subject to change due to external or internal events and improved learning across the nuclear industry.
The economics of upgrading and long-term operation of nuclear power plants is a key issue for the further development of nuclear development programmes in NEA member countries. The primary aim of the Ad hoc Expert Group on the Economics of Long-term Operation of Nuclear Power Plants was to: