Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Nuclear - Concluding Remarks
Taken together, these new projections and scenarios present a picture with opportunities for significant nuclear expansion, but still with substantial uncertainty. A number of developments in 2006 suggest that the renewal of interest in nuclear power may reasonably soon lead to increases in construction. These include expansion plans announced in 2006 by Japan and the Russian Federation, as well as previously announced expansion plans of China, India, the Republic of Korea and Pakistan. They include the large number of intended Combined License applications that companies and consortia have announced in the USA, which altogether involved approximately 25 new reactors. They include two site-preparation applications in Canada and the UK White Paper's conclusion that new nuclear power stations could make a significant contribution to meeting the UK's energy policy goals. They include a joint feasibility study launched by utilities from Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia for a new nuclear power plant to serve all three countries, and the Belarus Government's approval of a working plan for construction of the country's first nuclear power plant to follow the expiration of a 10-year moratorium on nuclear construction. They include announcements made by Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Poland, Turkey and Vietnam on the steps they are taking towards their first nuclear power plants. Finally, they include the explicit interest in nuclear power expressed by more than two dozen countries that currently do not operate nuclear power plants.
Whether and how quickly this interest ripens into a broader commitment to nuclear power will in large part depend on economics: on the affordability of nuclear power relative to alternatives, on the ability of next-generation nuclear technologies to cut capital costs, on the ability of nuclear power to deliver its services and benefits at reasonable costs and on creative fuel-cycle arrangements that allow countries to enjoy the benefits of nuclear power plants without the need to incur the costs of a nuclear infrastructure (take-back and leasing of nuclear fuel or nuclear batteries). It will also depend on government policies: environmental considerations driving or driven by the Kyoto Protocol, and supply-security considerations driving or driven by the need to strengthen the NPT. But most importantly, it will depend on the continued safe and economic operation of the current fleet of nuclear power plants around the world.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)