Energy Demands

Global energy demand has tripled since 1980 and shows little sign of slowing.
Global energy demand has tripled since 1980 and shows little sign of slowing.

Today, in much of the world, a surging drive to meet basic human needs is generating an enormous rise in the use of energy. The growing world population requires vast amounts of energy to provide fresh water, energize factories, homes and transportation and support infrastructures for nutrition, education and health care.

Since 1980, global electricity consumption has tripled, and is forecast to increase by 70% over the next two decades. The largest growth is coming from countries with rapidly expanding economies, like China and India.

To put this in perspective, of the seven billion people on the planet, there are almost two billion people who do not have access to electricity. Many more only have access to a fraction of what we use in the western world, and demand among those consumers continues to increase.

Nuclear utilities are continually assessing ways to optimize the economic returns of their reactors. Owners of productive reactors pursue capacity upgrades to meet growing demand along with refurbishing and relicensing to more economically extend reactors’ operating lifecycles.

In addition, new reactor construction is reaching unparalleled levels. Over 60 reactors are under construction in 13 countries around the world today, with a total of 524 operating reactors expected to be in place by 2022.


  • Cameco estimate

For an up-to-date list of reactors under construction, visit the World Nuclear Association.

One ton of natural uranium can produce more than 40 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. This is equivalent to burning 16,000 tons of coal or 80,000 barrels of oil.