Plans & Construction
26 Sep (NucNet): The International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest projections for nuclear power generating capacity show continuing growth despite the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident, with a steady rise in the number of nuclear power plants in the world in the next 20 years.
The IAEA said both its high and low projections predict growth in nuclear power capacity by 2030, by 25 per cent in the low projection and by 100 per cent – a doubling in generation capacity – in the high projection.
Projections made after the Fukushima-Daiichi accident indicated that the accident would slow the growth of nuclear power, but not reverse it. The 2012 updates, taking into account developments up to and including April 2012, reinforce this conclusion, but with a greater slowdown in growth, the IAEA said.
In the 2012 updated low projection, the world’s installed nuclear power capacity grows from 370 gigawatts today to 456 GW(e) in 2030, down by nine per cent from the level projected last year.
In the updated high projection, it grows to 740 GW(e) in 2030, an increase that is about one per cent less than estimated in 2011. Relative to projections made before the accident, the low projection has been reduced by 16 per cent and a more moderate eight percent in the high projection.
The IAEA said the low projection shows a 10-year delay in the pre-Fukushima anticipated growth, with the capacity that was projected for 2020 before the accident now being projected for 2030.
The update was published during the IAEA’s 56th General Conference, held in Vienna from 17-21 September 2012.
In his address to the conference, IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano said the Fukushima-Daiichi accident raised “fundamental questions” about the future of nuclear energy, yet 18 months after the accident, “it is clear that nuclear energy will remain an important option for many countries”.
He said developing countries continue to show “a keen interest” in nuclear power.
The IAEA said most of the growth will occur in regions that already have operating nuclear power plants.
It said projected growth is strongest in the Far East, which includes China and South Korea. Europe shows the biggest difference between the low and high projections and in North America, the low case projects a small decline.
Other regions with substantial nuclear power programmes are Eastern Europe, which includes Russia, the Middle East and South Asia, which includes India and Pakistan, the IAEA said.
The agency’s low projection assumes current trends continue with few changes in policies affecting nuclear power. It is a “conservative but plausible” projection, the agency said.
The high projection assumes current financial and economic crises will be overcome “relatively soon” and past rates of economic growth and electricity demand will resume, notably in the Far East.
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