Global nuclear power generation increased in 2017 for the fifth successive year, according to the World Nuclear Performance Report 2018 released on Wednesday.
In 2017, production from nuclear plants reached 2,506 terawatt-hours, more than 10 percent of global electricity demand, the World Nuclear Association (WNA) said.
At the end of 2017, the number of operable reactors was 448, from which more than half were in the U.S. and Europe. Despite reactor retirements outpacing capacity additions in both these regions, the WNA said new countries are entering the nuclear power club.
There were 59 reactors under construction at the end of 2017, out of which more than 25 are scheduled for completion in 2018 and 2019. In 2017, four projects started while two were halted.
Turkey has become the latest country to start a new build program, the report said, and added that site construction for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu formally started in December 2017, while construction of the first reactor started in April 2018.
According to the report, China continues to dominate the new-build market, accounting for three of the four grid connections in 2017, and 18 of the 59 reactors under construction at the start of 2018.
At the beginning of 2018, China had 38 operable nuclear reactors, representing about 9 percent of the world’s nuclear capacity. It also continues to play a key role in the development of nuclear energy with more than 40 reactors in operation.
The WNA asserts that in order to meet the growing demand for reliable, affordable and clean electricity, the world needs all low-carbon energy sources.
The WNA's Harmony program, the global nuclear industry's vision for the future of electricity, has set targets to expand nuclear energy capacity to meet demand.
"Much needs to be done to deliver the Harmony goal, but good progress has been made, both in terms of global reactor performance and new nuclear capacity additions," said Agneta Rising, director general of the WNA.
Overall, capacity additions for the period 2016-2020 are expected to reach the targets set by the Harmony program, she said.
To achieve this, the association has set goals to expand nuclear energy capacity by supplying 25 percent of electricity by 2050 through the construction of 1000 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity.
By Firdevs Yuksel