At Work: our annual report

At Work is an annual report of the World Nuclear Association's activities. You will find details of the Association's everyday work and plans for the year ahead.

Download At Work 2020 Edition.



The upcoming decade will be crucial for the energy sector and the nuclear industry particularly, as we attempt to achieve decarbonization globally. Nuclear power's role in the clean energy transition must be agreed universally this year, to ensure that the full potential of nuclear energy can be realized. 019 has shown that the need for nuclear energy is increasingly recognized globally. A broad range of expert bodies have highlighted how nuclear energy is vital to ensure that electricity is available to all, while respecting the environment and tackling climate change.

For the first time in 18 years, the International Energy Agency published a report on nuclear energy – Nuclear Power in a Clean Energy Future. It concluded that removing nuclear energy from the equation would result in higher electricity prices and the transition to a clean energy system becoming drastically harder and more costly. The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency’s report The Costs of Decarbonisation demonstrated that, once system costs are taken into account, nuclear energy is amongst the most cost-competitive low-carbon electricity generators available. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) hosted its first-ever conference on climate change and nuclear power, where World Nuclear Association made the case for nuclear in a high-level plenary session alongside key UN bodies.

World Nuclear Association continues to work very closely with partners globally to strengthen institutional support for nuclear energy. During 2019 we have contributed to consultations by the European Investment Bank and the International Commission on Radiological Protection – among others – ensuring that the industry’s voice is heard loud and clear.

2019 saw exciting developments which reflect the dynamic nature of our industry. In November, we saw the start-up of the world’s first floating nuclear power plant, the Akademik Lomonosov. Its reactors will supply electricity and heat to Russia’s remote Chukotka region, as well as replacing a fossil-fuelled power plant. This is one of the first of the new type of smaller reactors which will bring the benefits of nuclear energy to new regions, smaller grids and different applications..

Looking forward to 2020, a total of 13 reactors are due to be grid-connected, a number not matched for the past 30 years. With this, we will welcome the UAE and Belarus to the nuclear family.

Overall, during this first phase of the Harmony goal (2016-2020), 43 reactors are expected to start in 10 countries, based on 20 different designs, and with capacities ranging from 35 MWe to 1750 MWe – a reflection of the dynamic nature of our industry and our strong commitment to innovation. This brings us close to meeting the first milestone of the Harmony goal, to construct an average of 10 GWe per year of new nuclear capacity between 2016 and 2020. However, a greater effort is needed to build on this good start and accelerate towards the goal of supplying 25% of the world’s electricity before 2050.
The world’s nuclear reactors continued to perform excellently, with several utilities already reporting record output. Five reactors, in India, Switzerland and the USA, reached the milestone of 50 years of operation, demonstrating the ability of nuclear reactors to provide reliable low-carbon electricity for much longer than originally expected. In 2019 Turkey Point 3&4 in the USA became the first reactors licensed to operate for 80 years.
Our Association is going from strength to strength, with 12 new members having joined in 2019. Our Working Groups have been even more active, publishing reports on methodologies to manage materials from decommissioning, countering counterfeit items in the supply chain, and the 19th edition of The Nuclear Fuel Report, to mention a few.

It has been yet another successful year for the World Nuclear University, which continues to focus on the development of future industry leaders. The Summer Institute, this year held in Romania and Switzerland, brought together some of the most talented individuals in our industry to be trained and mentored by experts. WNU also held courses in Russia, Brazil, Turkey and China – in all, more than 600 participants took part in different WNU programmes over the year.

As we concluded in our white paper, The Silent Giant: The need for nuclear in a clean energy system, nuclear power holds the potential to herald a truly sustainable world – enabling us to pass on a cleaner planet to future generations. For the decade ahead, World Nuclear Association is more focused than ever in serving our members’ needs and representing the interests of the global nuclear industry to ensure that the full potential of our industry can be realized.

Agneta Rising, Director General
Kirill Komarov, Chairman
Also available: At Work 2022At Work 2021.



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