Nuclear power’s 2012 growth to continue, forecasts IAEA report


Global nuclear power generation capacity return to growth in 2012 after dropping in 2011 after the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster, according to a draft of an IAEA report seen by Agence France-Presse this week.

“The Fukushima Daiichi accident (in Japan in March 2011) is expected to slow or delay the growth of nuclear power, but not reverse it,” the draft reportedly says.

After Fukushima in March 2011, 13 reactors were permanently shut down, primarily in Germany, where eight reactors went offline, and Japan, were four were mothballed. The seven new nuclear reactors connected to the grid that year couldn’t make up the difference, and total nuclear power production dropped seven gigawatts in 2011, AFP reports. In 2012, ground was broken on four new nuclear reactors in China and one each in South Korea, Russia and the UAE, according to the report. “Although higher than in 2011 (when work began on just four reactors), this is significantly fewer than in 2010, when the steady increase since 2003 reached its peak with 16 new construction starts,” the report said.

Adding that countries are seeking to extend the life of nuclear plants and showing interest in small and medium-sized reactors, the IAEA report forecasts anywhere between 23 percent and 100 percent growth in nuclear power capacity by 2030.

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