Thursday, February 15, 2007

Nuclear energy continues to rise

Here's the global new nuclear picture:

Globally, nuclear power supplies are projected to grow 30% over the next 20 years with some two dozen power plants scheduled to be built or refurbished during the next five years.

China: eight new nuclear power stations under construction in 2006.

US & Russia: Presidents Bush and Putin announced significant new nuclear build programmes at recent G8 meetings.

These three countries will account for almost 38% of global nuclear output in 2010. By 2030, this is predicted to rise to over 45%. America’s share of total atomic production will slip to 26% during this period. China’s will increase from three percent to nine percent.

India: nine power plants under construction, including a fast-breeder reactor that generates its own fuel.

Pakistan: China is building its second of four power plants.

Canada: Last December, the Ontario Power Authority proposed plans to build 12 new nuclear plants. Bruce Power is to rebuild two other reactors.

Europe: New 1600-MW European PWRs are being built, one in Finland and one in France, with respective power-up dates of 2008 and 2012.

The failure of climate change initiatives will drive new nuclear power build, says Datamonitor.


Janis Mara said...

Well, this news does not exactly fill me with joy. What's your take, Carbon Kid? There are those who say nuclear energy is a lot cleaner than, say, coal-fired power plants. Personally it scares the bejabbers out of me.

David T said...

If you read my blog regularly you know my take. In brief, nuclear power is too dangerous to use and inappropriate for addressing our needs.

Although it is low carbon, it is not cost-effective in the long run, especially if you quantify the overall cost of the technology development of nuclear compared to emerging renewable technologies like marine, solar, geothermal energy and local energy. This is because the latter will be valid for centuries if not millennia, whereas uranium will run out in 30-100 years depending on the rate of use.

The harmful legacy of nuclear power is however around for millennia and nuclear power is closely linked to political and military instability.

We should invest in developing the many exciting new ways of saving energy and generating renewable energy that we are discovering, not in nuclear power, which I see as liked by countries' political leaders purely because to be in the 'nucelar club' of nations is seen by them as a 'macho' status symbol that gets them noticed - cf Korea, Iran.

Janis Mara said...

Thanks very much for the explanation! I appreciate it. Even if nuclear energy were cost-effective, the risks seem inordinate. If I understand correctly, the waste from nuclear plants (I believe a good deal of it was dumped near the Farallones Islands in Northern California, not far where I live ... gulp) lives on and on and ... and on ... and on.... Thanks again!

David T said...

You're absolutely right, Janis. The 'half life' of nuclear waste is measured in tens of thousands of years. If the ancient Egyptians of 3000 BC had had nuclear power stations we would still be having to guard and maintain them. But what if we no longer understood the technology or the language of the warning signs and which described it?