Friday, 6 July 2007

New Market Report on Nuclear's Future

Research & Markets has published (for the bargan price of 882 Euros or about $1,400 AUD) a report on the Nuclear Power Market Potential.

From their summary (and to the copywrite police out there - I doubt these guys will mind the plug): [all emphasis is mine]

This 355-page report on the Nuclear Power Market Potential suggests that nuclear power has the potential to help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and curb CO2 emissions in a cost-effective way, since its uranium fuel is abundant. However governments must take a more active role in facilitating private investment, especially in liberalized electricity markets where the trade-off between security and low price has been a disincentive to investment in new plant and grid infrastructure.

Investment of $20.2 trillion will be required by 2030 under the IEA alternative energy scenario, increasing nuclear capacity by 41% to 519 GWe and reducing energy demand by 10% and CO2 emissions by 16% compared with projections on present basis. Of this amount, $11.3 trillion will go for electricity: $5.2 trillion for generation, and the rest for transmission and distribution.

Today, the world produces as much electricity from nuclear energy as it did from all sources combined in 1960. Civil nuclear power can now boast more than 12,400 reactor years of experience. Nuclear energy supplies 16% of global needs in 30 countries.

Nuclear technology uses energy released by splitting the atoms of certain elements. Its applications range from bomb production to power generation. It was first developed in the 1940s, and during World War II research focused on producing bombs by splitting atoms of uranium or plutonium. In the 1950s attention turned to peaceful applications for nuclear fission, notably power generation.

Nuclear power generation is an established part of the world's electricity mix providing over 16% of the worlds electricity (cf. coal 40%, oil 10%, natural gas 15%, and hydro & other 19%). It is particularly suitable for large-scale, base-load electricity demand.

Although fewer nuclear power plants are being built now than during the 1970s and 1980s, those that are operating produce more electricity. In 2005, production was 2626 billion kWh. The increase over the last five years (218 TWh) is equal to the output from 30 large new nuclear plants. Yet between 1999 and 2005 there was a net increase of only two reactors (and 15 GWe). The rest of the increase is due to better performance from existing units.

With the United Nations predicting the worlds population to increase from 6.4 billion in 2004 to 8.1 billion by 2030, demand for energy will inevitably increase substantially. Both population growth and increasing standards of living for many people in developing countries will create strong growth in energy demand, expected to be 1.6% per year or 53% from 2004 to 2030.

The report addresses major issues affecting the nuclear power industry, including:
- Technologies for New Nuclear Facilities
- Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Nuclear Waste Disposal
- Nuclear Regulation
- Non Proliferation Goals
- Energy Security
- Global Nuclear Energy Partnership
- Nuclear Weapons

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