New York: Nuclear power will remain a major source of energy around the world in the coming decades, the UN nuclear watchdog has said.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over two dozen new reactors are now under construction globally.
In a new report, the IAEA projects an average growth rate of up to 2.5% by 2030.
“Our job is not so much to predict the future but to prepare for it,” said IAEA Nuclear Analyst Alan McDonald.
“To that end we update each year a high and low projection to establish the range of uncertainty we ought to be prepared for,” he said.
The report documents 435 operating nuclear reactors around the world, including 103 in the US alone.
Globally, 29 more are under construction. The US had the most operating units, followed by France(59), Japan (55) and the Russian Federation (31).
Of the 30 countries with nuclear power, the percentage of electricity supplied by nuclear power ranged from a high of 78% in France to just 2% in China.
But the report notes that China is experiencing “huge energy growth and is trying to expand every source it can, including nuclear power.”
With four reactors under construction, China plans a nearly five-fold expansion by just 2020, it said.
The share of nuclear power in worldwide electricity production rose from less than 1% in 1960 to 16% in 1986, and that percentage has held essentially constant in the 21 years since 1986, according to the IAEA.
In 2006, nuclear power provided about 15% of total electricity worldwide.