EIA projects nuclear growth through 2015
Nuclear power continued to be an important source of electricity in 1995, accounting for 22 percent of total worldwide electricity generation, according to a new report released today by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Worldwide, nuclear power plants generated 2,225 TWh in 1995–a 4 percent increase in world nuclear power generation from 1994. U.S. nuclear power plants continued to improve operating performance, setting a new record average capacity factor of 77.5 percent for 1995, compared with 73.8 percent for 1994.
EIA`s “Nuclear Power Generation and Fuel Cycle Report 1996” projects continued worldwide growth for nuclear power in the near term but uncertain long-term prospects. Over the next two decades, EIA shows a range of projections for nuclear capacity worldwide. In EIA`s reference case scenario, capacity declines slightly from the current 344 net GWe to 333 GWe by 2015. The U.S. contribution is minimal, as capacity declines or remains stagnant. For the United States, total nuclear electric capacity is projected to be 64 GWe by 2015, compared to 99 GWe in 1995, as operating licenses expire and no new projects are initiated.
Within 20 years, operating licenses are scheduled to expire for about half of the 110 nuclear reactors now operating in the United States. A number of issues will need to be addressed in connection with decommissioning those plants for which licenses are not renewed. These issues include low-level waste disposal availability and costs, Nuclear Regulatory Commission decommissioning procedures and the need to update radioactive release standards. The report reviews nuclear industry developments in 1995 and projects future nuclear power requirements. It includes information that formerly was published under the annual series titled “World Nuclear Outlook.” Copies are available through EIA`s National Energy Information Center, Room 1F-048, Forrestal Building, Washington, D.C. 20585, at (202) 586-8800 (phone).