Nuclear’s fortunes looking up, says IAEA

October 11, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
IAEA director general Grossi delivers the opening plenary at the Second International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power. (Photo: IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has released the 2023 edition of its annual look at nuclear’s prospects in the coming decades—Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050—revising its global growth projections upward for a third consecutive year.

In both its high- and low-case scenarios, the IAEA report now sees one-quarter more nuclear energy capacity installed by 2050 than it did as recently as 2020.

In the high-case scenario, nuclear installed capacity is seen more than doubling by 2050 to 890 gigawatts-electric, compared with today’s 369 gigawatts-electric. In the low case, capacity increases to 458 gigawatts-electric. The high and low cases have risen by 2 percent and 14 percent, respectively, from last year’s report.

These results underscore how a growing number of nations are looking to nuclear address the challenges of energy security, climate change, and economic development, according to the IAEA.

Official words: Announcing the new projections at the October 9 opening of the agency’s Second International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power 2023: Atoms4NetZero, held this year in Vienna, IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi said, “Many countries are extending the lifetime of their existing reactors, considering or launching construction of advanced reactor designs, and looking into small modular reactors, including for applications beyond the production of electricity.” (Atoms4NetZero is an IAEA initiative launched last year at COP27.)

Grossi continued, “Nuclear energy or renewables is a false narrative. Such false narratives are to the detriment of everyone, especially when it comes to achieving a fair and enabling investment environment. We are not at a level playing field yet. To get there, decisions need to be made from a technologically agnostic view that is based on science, fact, and reason.”

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