Surge in new nuclear helps build a sustainable global energy mix

Issued 14 May 2018

A surge in new nuclear plants coming online is helping reduce emissions and meet electricity demand, but much more is needed to achieve a sustainable energy mix.

Speaking on the opening day of Atomexpo 2018, in a debate on the role of nuclear power in a sustainable energy mix, World Nuclear Association Director General Agneta Rising said;

“In the five years from 2015 to 2019 we should see 55 new reactors start in twelve countries, two of those countries hosting their first nuclear power plant.  With a combined capacity of 55 GWe this new nuclear generation will avoid the emission of more than 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, compared to coal. It is equivalent to adding nearly 15% to global nuclear capacity.”

Rising said that nuclear energy had a vital role to play in a global sustainable energy mix, providing a strong foundation of reliable and low carbon generation to help support the more variable generation of other clean energy options.

Rising also pointed out that hosting a nuclear power plant “brings a lifetime of investment into a community, investment in jobs, investment in infrastructure and investment in local economies.”

The nuclear industry has put forward the Harmony goal, a vision of a future energy system where nuclear energy supplies 25% of global electricity demand by 2050 as part of a low carbon generation mix, which would require 1000 GW of new nuclear build.

Rising said it made no sense to subsidise technologies that generate low carbon electricity some of the time if it results in the closure of a nuclear plant that generates low carbon electricity all of the time.

To achieve the Harmony goal action would need a level playing field in energy markets which optimized all existing low-carbon energy resources already in place and drove investment in future clean energy, along with an effective safety paradigm focusing on genuine public wellbeing.

Rising said “We need to work together because we need all low carbon options to make a future clean energy system work. And we need the whole nuclear community – from research, government, regulation, design, operation, decommissioning and waste management – to play their respective roles towards our common Harmony goal. “

World Nuclear Association is the international organisation that represents the global nuclear industry. Its mission is to promote a wider understanding of nuclear energy among key international influencers by producing authoritative information, developing common industry positions, and contributing to the energy debate, as well as to pave the way for expanding nuclear business.

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