The world's nuclear demand is growing to the extent that by 2035 a $1.5 trillion investment volume is expected in the sector, the director general of the World Nuclear Association (WNA) told Anadolu Agency.
Currently, 30 countries are planning to have nuclear plants while four newcomers are constructing their first ever plants, the WNA Director General Agneta Rising told Anadolu Agency.
In recognition of the need to have a sustainable energy mix in the future, Rising said that many countries recognize that nuclear energy is an optimal source for diversification.
Thus, she said the global demand for nuclear power is on the rise as nuclear energy also contributes to the fight against climate change.
In accordance with the Paris Agreement signed in 2016, the world needs to limit the increase in the global average temperature to below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Despite this target, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose 1.7% to a historic high of 33.1 gigatonnes in 2018 driven by higher energy demand, the International Energy Agency's (IEA) statistics show.
The power sector accounted for nearly two-thirds of emissions growth while coal usage for electricity generation alone surpassed 10 gigatonnes of CO2.
As nuclear power plants do not emit CO2, Rising argued that it is one of the best sources for a sustainable energy future.
The use of nuclear power avoids the emission of nearly 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year – the equivalent of taking over 400 million cars off the road per year, according to the Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2018 report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Consequently, the goal of the nuclear community is to create an additional 1,000 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2050, she said.
The current installed global nuclear power capacity is around the 400-gigawatt level, with China, India and Russia destined to lead in future capacities.
The WNA estimates that based on current plans, the value of new nuclear build investments up to 2035 will be around $1.5 trillion.
East Asia is estimated to form the biggest part of this investment volume with $740 billion, followed by Europe and North America with $228 billion and $203 billion, respectively.
- Turkey needs more nuclear plants
Turkey along with the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and Belarus are the newcomers to this sector, Rising said.
Turkey's first nuclear power plant Akkuyu is currently under construction, and the plant's new 1,200-megawatt reactor plans to be operational by 2023.
Upon completion, Akkuyu will have a total 4,800 megawatts of installed capacity.
"As one of the newcomers, Turkey will benefit a lot from Akkuyu. The plant will be a big boost to the local economy," Rising said, adding that a nuclear plant can generate much employment, drive the economy and develop education and technology.
She acknowledged that development of the Akkuyu project has been very slow at first, but is proceeding now at a good speed.
She hailed Turkey's contribution to reducing CO2 emissions by constructing the Akkuyu nuclear plant, which she claimed would also aid in reducing the country's carbon footprint.
She contended that Turkey needs further nuclear power projects after the completion of its initial plant that would allow for developing a good knowledge base, and gaining valuable experience in the nuclear sector.
On May 3, 2013, an intergovernmental agreement was signed between Turkey and Japan for the construction of the country's second nuclear plant in Sinop on the country's Black Sea coast.
Turkey is expected to have at least 10,000 megawatts of installed nuclear capacity in the next 10-15 years, according to Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Ministry's General Directorate of Nuclear Energy.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya