Global nuclear capacity ‘to expand at a slow pace’

Global nuclear capacity will continue expanding in the coming decades – but a slow pace. That’s according to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It stated the sector […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Global nuclear capacity will continue expanding in the coming decades – but a slow pace.

That’s according to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

It stated the sector has overcome challenges such as low fossil fuel prices, a slower world economy and the legacy of the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan.

However, the growth is still slow since the incident in 2011, the report added.

The world’s nuclear generating capacity is estimated to expand by between 2.4% and 68% by 2030.

“Uncertainty related to energy policy, licence renewals, shutdowns and future constructions accounts for the wide range”, it sated.

In the short term, low prices for gas, subsidised renewable energy sources and the global financial crisis are the factors weighing growth, it added.

According to the report, the Far East, especially China and Korea, is expected to see the biggest increase, with 131.8GW of installed capacity by 2030 in the lower estimate.

In Eastern Europe, 64.1GW of nuclear capacity is projected to be installed in the same period while the Middle East and South Asia is forecast to grow at 25.9GW.

Western Europe however is expected to see the biggest decline, with an estimated decrease to 62.7GW from the current 113.7GW.

North America could also see a fall to 92GW by 2030, according to the report.

Andrii Gritsevskyi, Energy System Analyst in the IAEA’s Planning and Economic Studies Section said: “It’s important to understand that these projections, while carefully derived, are not predictions. The estimates should be viewed as very general growth trends whose validity must be constantly subjected to critical review.”