Asia is driving sustained growth in nuclear power generation globally, according to a new report by the World Nuclear Association.
The WNA says that global nuclear generation increased in 2018 for the sixth straight year. Reactors worldwide produced more than 2500 TWh of electricity, about 10 percent of global demand.
The upward trajectory was most dramatic in Asia, where nuclear generation increased nearly 12 percent to 533 TWh, according to the report. Globally, nine new reactors started generating electricity last year, while five reactors turned 50 years of age.
Nuclear reactors produce zero carbon emissions. The WNA estimated globally more than two billion metric tonnes of CO2 is avoided annually by nuclear power.
“If we are to be serious about climate change we should also be serious about the solutions,” Agneta Rising, director general of WNA, said in a statement. “Transitioning to a low-carbon economy that meets the energy needs of the global community presents a daunting task. But it is a challenge that must be met, and one that can only be met by using the full potential of nuclear energy.”
In U.S., no new nuclear generation capacity has been added in years and several sites have been closed or planned for closure due to costs and political pressures. In Georgia, however, Southern Co. and other owners are forging ahead with work on the $25 billion expansion of Units 3 and 4 at the Vogtle station, hoping to complete the project in the first half of the next decade.
Several utilities are planning to ask the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend licenses and keep plants operating. Dominion Energy has put plans for expanding its North Anna facility in Virginia to a third reactor on hold, but has time to resume that path.
(Rod Walton is content director for Power Engineering and POWERGEN International. He can be reached at 918-831-9177 and [email protected]).
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Nuclear power issues will have a home for discussion at POWERGEN International, happening Nov. 19-21 in New Orleans. Nuclear-centered sessions will include presentations from representatives of Framatome, Otek and GSE in the Knowledge Hubs on the POWERGEN exhibit floor. Registration is open.