In Risø’s new report on the international situation of nuclear energy, you can read that the International Energy Agency of OECD (IEA) estimates that nuclear power globally will grow by 0.7% per year until 2030, mainly because this kind of electricity generation does not emit CO2. Today nuclear power accounts for approx. 14% of the global electricity supply. 31 countries have nuclear power plants. Most are part of the OECD area in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia.
|Read the report (in Danish): Kernekraft og nuklear sikkerhed 2008 (Nuclear power and nuclear safety 2008). Edited by B. Lauritzen and P.L. Ølgaard. Risø DTU, June 2009, ISBN 978-87-550-3763-2, Risø-R-1701(DA).|
In 2007 the electricity production from nuclear power dropped approx. 2% compared to 2006, in part due to operational problems at English and German plants and due to the unavailability of the world’s largest nuclear power plant, Kashiwazaki Kariwa in Japan, after the earthquake on 16 July 2007.
While the expansion of nuclear power has slowed considerably since the late 1980s, the electricity production from most nuclear power units has increased due to improved utilisation of the plants.
In 2008 the construction of ten new nuclear power units began. Six in China, two in South Korea and two in Russia. Apart from 11 units in operation, China now has a total of 11 units under construction and expects to sextuple its current capacity by 2020.
Russia plans to double its production capacity by 2020, which means that 2-3 new units are going to be built annually. One nuclear power plant in Slovakia was closed in 2008. No new nuclear power units were put into operation in 2008.
Of the projected expansion of nuclear power until 2020, 30% will be in China, 15% in India, 15% in the rest of Asia, while Europe, the United States and Russia each account for approx. 12%.
Sweden has 10 nuclear power units distributed on 3 nuclear power plants. In February this year, the Swedish government decided to replace existing nuclear power units to be decommissioned with new nuclear power units. This policy is new compared with the old energy policy that was based on gradually phasing out nuclear power. The law for phasing out nuclear power now needs to be changed.
The U.S. has 104 nuclear power plants in operation. Most have been built in the 1970s. The U.S. authorities now permit life extensions of the plants and try to arouse interest in building new plants. Since 2007, a total of 14 utility companies have applied for combined construction and operating permits. In 2008 12 applications were submitted. If the applications are approved, the first units could be put into operation around 2016-17.
Barack Obama is considered to be more sceptical of nuclear power than his predecessor George W. Bush. The nuclear power industry expects, however, that Barack Obama broadly will continue George Bush's policy, which involves political and financial support for expanding nuclear power, in order to enhance security of supply and to reduce CO2 emissions.
Head of Programme Bent Lauritzen, the Radiation Research Division, 4677 4906, mobile 2140 9131