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WNA Report / Nuclear Growth Projections Revised Upwards ‘For First Time In Eight Years’

By David Dalton
6 September 2019

Nuclear Growth Projections Revised Upwards ‘For First Time In Eight Years’
The two-unit Rooppur nuclear power station is under construction in Bangladesh. Photo courtesy Rosatom.
The World Nuclear Association’s projections for nuclear generating capacity growth have been revised upwards for the first time in eight years, following the introduction of more favourable policies in a number of countries.

In a report published on Thursday
the London-based industry group said that in France, energy policy has been modified, delaying the planned reduction of nuclear power in the share of its electricity mix and allowing operating lifetime extensions of existing reactors beyond 40 years.

In the US, state legislatures are starting to pass measures that support the continued operation of reactors, recognising the valuable role of nuclear in providing low-carbon electricity. At the same time, the process of granting a second operating licence extension for US nuclear reactors has begun, allowing reactors to operate for 80 years.

Both China and India have extensive nuclear expansion programmes and the prospects for new reactors in many countries have improved with several newcomer countries such as Turkey, Bangladesh and Egypt launching construction projects and several more, including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Poland, demonstrating “a clear interest in developing nuclear programmes”.

The upper and reference scenarios in the report show global nuclear power capacities growing over the period to 2040 at a faster rate than at any time since 1990, increasing mainly due to extensive reactor building programmes in China, India and other countries in Asia.

Projected growth in a reference scenario is moderate, with capacity growing from around 402 GW today to 569 GW by 2040. However, in the report’s upper scenario nuclear capacity is expected to almost double to 776 GW. For the lower scenario, nuclear capacity essentially maintains its current level over the forecast period at 402 GW.

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