Yet another reason nuclear plants do not last 60 years, as some advocates claim. Still another reason nuclear plants have higher costs per kWh produced: their output falls off as they age, and capital costs and fixed operating costs must be spread out over fewer and fewer kWh sold. From the article:
" EDF's average load factor for its French nuclear fleet [was] 73 percent in 2013, which is also down from its highest level of 77.6 percent in 2005, the company's 2013 results show." (load factor is the ratio of the actual output to the nameplate capacity)
The nuclear plants also become less and less reliable as they age, requiring 100 percent backup ready and running to take over the load when the plants are shut down. Sound familiar? This is the constant whining from the nuclear advocates about "unreliable" wind and solar power. Yet, with a nuclear plant, the grid experiences approximately 1000 MW of power loss instantly when the nuke stops.
At the present, 50 percent of the nuclear plants in Belgium are off-line for maintenance. The power must be provided from other plants - essentially 100 percent backup for those plants.
The Truth About Nuclear Power series (30 articles in total) address many of the same issues in Part 10, 11, 15, and 16 (see links below)
Part Sixteen - Near Misses on Meltdowns Occur Every 3 Weeks