Nuclear Energy Trends
Nuclear Energy Trends
Nuclear Power Share
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its 2008 edition of Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the period to 2030. The report estimates nuclear power generation in 2030, and both the low and high case projections are significantly higher than the estimates released in 2007. The high case estimates worldwide nuclear capacity in 2030 at 748 gigawatt electric (GWe), about twice the current level of 372 GWe. The low case predicts worldwide nuclear capacity in 2030 rising to 473 GWe. In comparison, the 2007 edition of the report put the high case estimate for 2030 at 691 GWe and put the low case estimate at 447 GWe. Under the high projection in the 2008 IAEA report, nuclear power will retain a 14% share of total worldwide electricity generation in 2030, and under the low projection nuclear's share of electricity generation is expected to decline to 12.5%.
Nuclear Plant Performance
In 2007, the last year for which data is available, the direct costs of US nuclear electricity production were the lowest for baseload (non-hydro) electricity production for the seventh consecutive year. Production costs were 1.76 cents (US) per kilowatt hour for nuclear, 2.47 cents (US) for coal, 6.78 cents (US) for natural gas and 10.26 cents (US) for petroleum (Source: NEI).
Reactors – Operating, Planned and Under Construction
There are 436 reactors operating worldwide and a total of 115 new reactors under construction or planned for completion within the next 10 years (as of January 2009). These more than offset 18 anticipated closures, for a net increase of 97 reactors during the period. Given that new reactors tend to be larger than older units, this represents a 28% growth in nuclear generating capacity. Highlights include:
- 68 reactors are scheduled to be built in Asia, as energy demand is driven by economic expansion. About three-quarters of this growth is expected to occur in China and India, which have announced plans to build 31 and 18 reactors, respectively,
- India is implementing plans with four separate nuclear plant vendors to build light water reactors,
- China is debating increasing its nuclear construction program from 40 GWe to 60 or 70 GWe by 2020.
- in Russia, Ukraine and Armenia, it is anticipated that 23 reactors will be built, offset by one closure in Armenia and six in Russia,
- in Finland, a new European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) is being constructed and, when completed, will bring the country's total to five nuclear reactors. An application for a sixth unit has been filed,
- in France, the construction of a second EPR is expected to begin in 2012 and a third EPR is being considered,
- in Canada, BALP is refurbishing two A units that had previously been shutdown, and both Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG) have initiated the regulatory process for new generating units.
- in the US, South Carolina and Georgia are likely to follow Florida in providing an encouraging nuclear plant investment climate, and
- South Korea's generation blueprint anticipates that by 2020 roughly half the countries' electricity will be nuclear generated.
Reactors – Potential
In 2008, there were no new reactors connected to the electricity grid, and three reactors were shutdown. There were seven countries that completed power uprates in 2008, totalling 1.2 GWe. The net result was a 0.5 GWe decrease in nuclear capacity. Construction of 10 reactors commenced in 2008 (six in China, two in South Korea and two in Russia), which will add 11 GWe of new nuclear capacity when they connect to the electricity grid. The following table summarizes Cameco's estimate of world nuclear reactor status to 2018.
World Nuclear Reactors (Cameco estimate, January 2009)1
|Outlook to 2018|
2007 2 (%)
|Russia and Eastern Europe Total||47||23||7||63||20.6|
|1 Estimated by Cameco, January 2009. Based on public announcements made prior to January 2009.|
|2 World Nuclear Association (WNA).|