Nick Butler: Nuclear power is in danger of fading away as a significant source of electricity supply. The fade will be gradual but is already evident in Germany and the US and the trend is likely to be followed in France, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium. In many other areas, existing plants are ageing and while the working lives of some stations will be extended many may not be replaced. These shifts will be balanced in part by growth in China and India and perhaps in the Middle East. In Japan, the industry will recover some market share as plants closed after the Fukushima disaster reopen. However, the trend is clear: nuclear will provide a gradually reducing share of total global energy demand. The authors of a new report from the International Energy Agency spell out what is happening in detail and regard the fade (their phrase) as deeply regrettable – a surprising conclusion from an organisation that is usually impeccably neutral between different technologies. The crucial economic problem for the industry is that the high cost of new nuclear has become more visible because of the sharp fall in the costs of wind and solar power over the past decade. With storage technology also advancing, large-scale alternative supplies of low-carbon energy are becoming available which carry none of the construction risks associated with nuclear plants.
FT 10th June 2019 read more »
Recently, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that neglect of the world’s nuclear electric generating plants would lead to a precipitous decline in climate-friendly nuclear energy production around the world. The agency, a consortium of 30 countries which monitors energy developments worldwide, said 25 percent of nuclear capacity could be lost by 2025 and two-thirds by 2040. The cause is clear. Little new capacity is being built and much of the current fleet of reactors is nearing the end of its lifespan. The IEA’s warning comes about a decade too late. That’s because the timeline for planning and building nuclear power plants can be that long.
Resilience 9th June 2019 read more »