Nuclear energy may see role wane, UN agency says

The IAEA says "nuclear power may struggle to maintain its current place in the world's energy mix"
The IAEA says "nuclear power may struggle to maintain its current place in the world's energy mix"

The UN's nuclear agency on Monday said global capacity for electricity generation through nuclear power may be shrinking over the coming decades.

In a new report the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that the sector would face challenges as "ageing reactors are retired and the industry struggles with reduced competitiveness".

"Overall, the new projections suggest that nuclear power may struggle to maintain its current place in the world's energy mix," the IAEA said.

In its , nuclear power capacity would fall by more than 10 percent until 2030.

Other factors cited as contributing to the squeeze on the sector were the low price of natural gas, the impact of on electricity prices and the global reaction to the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Several countries have announced plans to phase out nuclear power, including Germany and Switzerland, and the IAEA says the industry "faces increased construction times and costs due to heightened safety requirements".

Given this, and "the considerable number of reactors scheduled to be retired around 2030 and beyond", the lower end of the IAEA's projections see capacity falling by more than 10 percent from its 2017 level of 392 gigawatts.

Capacity in Europe and North America could fall by almost a third under that same scenario.

On a global level, that projection would see nuclear power declining to 2.8 percent of world by 2050, down from 5.7 percent today.

"Still, interest in nuclear power remains strong in the developing world, particularly in Asia where countries such as China and India need huge amounts of electricity and also want to reduce ," the IAEA notes.

"Without significant progress on using the full potential of , it will be difficult for the world to secure sufficient energy to achieve sustainable development and to mitigate ," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said.

However, green campaigners often point to the potential hazards of nuclear waste and say that investment in renewable energy is a more sustainable route to combatting climate change.


Explore further

UN nuclear body says ageing reactors fuel safety concerns

© 2018 AFP

Citation: Nuclear energy may see role wane, UN agency says (2018, September 10) retrieved 21 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-nuclear-energy-role-wane-agency.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
30 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Sep 10, 2018
Intermittent renewables are a trillion-dollar fiasco in the fight against Climate Change.
Wind and solar are just decorative facades to keep the expansion of the gas/fracking industry.
"Jim Hansen, father of 'global warming', calls renewables a 'grotesque idea'"
https://pbs.twimg...Tv9m.jpg
https://pbs.twimg...PcFv.jpg
Fukushima: zero deaths from radiation exposure.
"Exposure to solar radiation kills as many as 18,000 Americans per year."
"There are no examples of members of the general public in the west who have died due to exposure to radiation from civilian nuclear power in the last 50 years".
https://uploads.d...54a4.jpg
"no one is suffering from spent nuclear fuel; no one has ever been injured from used fuel from a commercial nuclear power plant, let alone killed."
https://pbs.twimg...jmtY.jpg

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more