Power On - The Future of Nuclear
2011 was a year of global economic, political and environmental challenges. The nuclear industry felt the effects of the events in Japan, which continue to unfold in ways that make it difficult to predict the near term with certainty. Germany announced an intention to move away from nuclear and Japan has not been clear on its plans.
At the same time, most of the 30 countries with a nuclear program have recommitted to nuclear, and the low uranium price is starting to cause some supply challenges. These factors, combined with a secondary supply that is starting to diminish, could speed an already tightening supply.
For the long term, things are clearer. Nuclear is a safe, clean, reliable, affordable energy source at a time when energy demand is increasing and governments are focused on energy security and reducing greenhouse gases. Global electricity consumption has tripled since 1980 and is forecast to nearly double again over the next two decades as more and more power is turned on around the world.
As a result, we are seeing continuing, growing and new nuclear programs. India, South Korea and China are all expanding their programs, while others like Saudi Arabia and Vietnam are planning to start new programs. The current rate of new reactor growth is at a level not seen since the 1970s. Sixty-three reactors are currently under construction and we expect 96 net new reactors by 2021.