by Greg Klein | September 10, 2015
“Nuclear electricity output is set to increase at a faster rate over the next five years than we have seen for more than two decades,” the World Nuclear Association told a London symposium on September 10. Even so, that doesn’t seem to satisfy the WNA, whose director-general Agneta Rising added, “We must build on that positive momentum.”
Global nuclear generation capacity should expand from today’s 379 gigawatts-electric to 404 GWe by 2020 and 552 GWe by 2035, according to the “reference scenario” of a WNA study presented at the conference. The report also provided two other projections. A lower scenario sees nuclear capacity stagnating to 2030, before dropping off with several reactor shutdowns prior to 2035. The more bullish upper scenario sees capacity rising to 429 GWe in 2020 and 720 GWe in 2035.
The reference and upper scenarios indicate additional uranium supply “will be needed soon after 2025 and will require the development of ‘supply pipeline’ projects,” the WNA stated. “Additional conversion and enrichment capacity is also likely to be needed in these scenarios.”
Primary and secondary sources suggest adequate uranium supplies up to 2025, “provided that all mines currently under development and also most of the planned and prospective mines enter service as planned,” the report maintained. “Beyond 2025, further uranium production will be required if the reference and upper scenarios for demand are to be satisfied.”
Nuclear energy currently provides about 11% of the world’s electricity, the WNA noted, and forms “an essential element in any credible strategy to combat carbon emissions while also contributing to energy security of supply.”