BP: Nuclear grew by 1.4% in 2006

14 June 2007

Two annual energy reviews agree that nuclear energy's contribution to the world's energy supplies continues to increase.

Although worldwide energy consumption increased in 2006, the rate of growth slowed for every fuel except nuclear, according to BP's latest World Energy Review.

In his introduction to the company's 56th annual review of world energy production and consumption, BP group chief executive Tony Hayward noted that globally, attention is moving beyond price concerns, with energy security and climate change threats coming to the fore. He noted, however, that from a market perspective "without a price for carbon, there is no mechanism that can guide the energy system towards a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions."

BP does not produce CO2 emission statistics, but Hayward noted that as coal maintained its position as the world's fastest-growing hydrocarbon, global carbon emissions would continue to increase. Even excluding China, which accounted for the majority of the growth in world energy consumption, global coal consumption increased over the year.

The report, which analyses all energy sources rather than just those used to produce electricity, found world consumption of nuclear energy to be 1.4% up on 2005, with nuclear plants producing a highest-ever estimated output of 2808 TWh. OECD countries accounted for two thirds of the increase, through increased capacity utilization and capacity upgrades.

Renewable energy still accounted for only a small share of world primary energy supply despite high growth rates. Although hydropower contributed about 16% of the world's electricity generation, only 1% came from geothermal, wind and solar combined.

The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has also released its annual nuclear energy data review. Nuclear energy contributed 23.1% of the 17 OECD countries' electricity in 2006, slightly up from 22.8% in 2005. Ten nuclear units are under construction in the OECD, with firm plans for 15 more, but six units were permanently closed in 2006 and another ten are expected to follow by 2011. Whereas all but one of the new build are planned in the OECD Pacific region, nine out of ten planned closures will be in Europe.

Further information

BPStatistical Review of World Energy 2007

OECD NuclearEnergy Agency

WNA's Nuclear powerfacts information papers