On July 29, the latest edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report
was released, which provides an assessment of nuclear developments in the world on an annual basis.
The report contains a number of interesting statistics, one of them being the fact that most of the nuclear reactors that are currently in operation are already very old. In fact the average age of reactors in operation is higher than the average age of retired reactors was at the time when they were shut down. Given the age of many operational reactors, their average lifetime in the past and the low number of reactors currently under construction the report sums up:
"As a result, the number of reactors in operation will stagnate at best but will more likely decline over the coming years unless lifetime extensions beyond 40 years becomes widespread. The scenario of such generalized lifetime extensions is however even less likely after Fukushima, as many questions regarding safety need to be much more carefully addressed."