The effects of regulation on the performance of nuclear power in the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany
Author(s)Hulkower, Seth David
The nuclear power industry of the Federal Republic of Germany has achieved consistently better reactor operating performance than has the U.S. industry. Earlier work has suggested that a major source of the difference is in capacity factor losses caused by regulatory practices. An investigation of the problems attributed to regulation in the United States, which caused losses from 1975 to 1984, was performed. Fifteen major issues were identified, which comprised 85 percent of all regulatory losses. The performance of the German industry then was analyzed to discover differences in regulatory practices. Most of the U.S. regulatory losses were found to be associated with steam generators, reactor coolant systems, and containment systems. The regulatory losses in the Federal Republic of Germany included the retraining of a plant staff after an accident, a long-term derating of a plant because of inadequate backup safety systems, and several smaller problems. The German industry applies inspection and repair standards for steam generators that equal or exceed U.S regulations, and it treats these losses as part of normal plant maintenance. However, the German industry also assigned the largest single cause of capacity loss in BWRs--recirculation pipe replacement--to the voluntary maintenance category because they weren't strictly ordered to shut down, only pressured with the threat of stringent inspection standards. When the BWR pipe replacement outages were added to the Federal Republic of Germany's total regulatory loss, and the steam generator losses were subtracted from the U.S. total, the Federal Republic of Germany was found to have greater regulatory losses. It can therefore be concluded that the sources of poor U.S. performance relative to the Federal Republic of Germany come from areas other than regulation.
Thesis (M.S.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Technology and Policy Program, 1986
MIT Energy Lab