According to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Department of Nuclear Energy, the share of nuclear power in the world’s electricity supply is expected to shrink to about 6.2% over the next 40 years. This is half the size it was in 2010.
While the overall installed capacity of nuclear energy will grow, it is likely that it will lose ground with other energy sources, such as renewables and fossil fuels. The Agency says that the result of this would be increased carbon emissions and increasing fossil fuel prices.
The 2011 projections of the agency show a 7-8% decline from numbers published a year ago. This is due in part to Germany’s decision to eliminate nuclear power use by 2022, as well as the reaction to Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. It is expected that most of the increase of nuclear energy usage would occur in Asia, particularly India and China.
The agency estimates costs of new nuclear power units to be about $2,500 and $3,500 per installed kilowatt for advanced industrialized countries, and approximately $5,000 to $6,000 per installed kilowatt for developing countries. The Fukushima plant accident is unlikely to affect the capital cost of new units for nuclear power.
Do you think the share of nuclear energy in the world’s electricity supply will grow or fade leading up to 2050? Do you think the IAEA is correct in saying that nuclear energy will lose ground to fossil fuels?
Image CC licensed by redjar: Nuclear power plant, England