World Nuclear Association urges industry growth to 25%

10 September 2015

The global nuclear industry should aim to achieve a 25% share of world electricity production by 2050, Agneta Rising, director general of the World Nuclear Association said today. To do that it will need to add 1000 gigawatts of new generation capacity.

In her opening remarks to delegates at the association's annual Symposium, being held in London this week, Rising said there are political and regulatory barriers to overcome in achieving this target, and the industry could find more ways to reduce its own costs. "But we have a goal," she said.

That goal is the focus of the association's new Harmony initiative. To achieve it, Rising stressed the industry was capable of adding 50 GWe of capacity in 2015-2020, 125 GWe in 2020-2025 and 825 GWe in 2025-2050.

Two-thirds of the world's population live in countries using nuclear power, which today has an 11% share of global electricity production. The industry is back at the level of constructing new reactors that it was 25 years ago, Rising said. "But, quite frankly, that's not nearly enough".

The connection rate of new nuclear capacity in 1984 was 31 GWe per year, but in 2014 it was just 5 GWe/yr, she said.

According to the International Energy Agency's 2 Degree Scenario (2DS), "nuclear is required to provide the [single] largest contribution to global electricity demand in 2050", Rising said. That means its current share "must more than double".

Rising was referring to Paris-based IEA's report Energy Technology Perspectives 2015, which argues that the transformation to clean-energy is progressing at levels well short of those needed to limit the global increase in temperature to no more than 2°C. Under the 2DS scenario, some 22 GWe of new nuclear generating capacity must be added annually by 2050.

"Nuclear makes quick, lasting decarbonisation possible," Rising said.

To achieve the 1000 GWe target, the World Nuclear Association has outlined three objectives in its Harmony initiative – a level playing field for nuclear among sources of electricity generation, a harmonised regulatory process, and an effective safety paradigm. To achieve them, the industry must manage the challenges with deregulated markets and nuclear energy taxes, high capital investments, grid system costs and subsidies for alternative sources of electricity. It must also seek to gain recognition for nuclear power for its low-carbon generation.

Referring to the avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution caused by fossil fuels that is possible through the increased use of nuclear power, Rising said: "It is vital that we eliminate emissions and that electricity generation by the end of this century is not harming people."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News