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Global nuclear capacity to rise to 516 GW by 2040: IEA


Chinese nuclear construction to drive capacity increase

Report has predictions under three different scenarios

75% of Chinese nuclear fleet built in last decade

Global nuclear capacity will rise by 103 GW from 413 GW at the end of 2016 to 516 GW in 2040 under the most likely scenario, according to the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2017 report, which was released Tuesday.

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The report contains three scenarios: the new policies scenario, the current policies scenario and the sustainable development scenario.

The new policies scenario is defined in the report as one which "aims to provide a sense of the direction in which latest policy ambitions could take the energy sector."

The report says the current policies scenario "considers the impact of only those policies and measures that are firmly enshrined in legislation as of mid-2017."

It says that the sustainable development scenario aims to "provide an energy sector pathway that integrates three closely associated but distinct policy objectives: to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services by 2030; to substantially reduce the air pollution which causes deaths and illness; and to take effective action to combat climate change."

The new policies scenario sees global nuclear electricity capacity reaching 468 GW in 2030 and 516 GW in 2040. Under the current policies scenario, the IEA sees global nuclear capacity hitting 472 GW in 2030 and 513 GW in 2040. The scenario does not give a 2016 capacity figure.

Under the sustainable development scenario, the IEA report sees global nuclear capacity reaching 586 GW in 2030 and at 720 GW in 2040.

The new policies scenario in the IEA report saw net global nuclear output in 2016 of 2,611 TWh. It predicts net global nuclear production of 3,440 TWh in 2030 and 3,844 TWh in 2040.

The current policies scenario sees 3,452 TWh of global nuclear production in 2030 and 3,825 TWh in 2040. The sustainable development scenario sees 4,295 TWh of net global nuclear production in 2030 and 5,345 TWh in 2040.

The report did not contain a current figure for net global nuclear output for either the current policies or sustainable development scenarios.

The report says the increase in global nuclear capacity and output will be driven by China.

The report notes that the rise in output from nuclear "represents a major increase in indigenous energy production."

The report says that nuclear generation in China has expanded rapidly over the last decade from "53 TWh (or 2% of total generation) in 2005" to "213 TWh (or 3.5% of total output) by 2016, including a near doubling in the last 11 years."

The report says that, as a result, "the nuclear power fleet in China is relatively young, with almost 75% built within the last decade."

The report adds that "of the approximately 64 GW of new nuclear capacity under construction worldwide, one-third is in China. In all, the country has 36 nuclear power reactors in operation, 21 under construction and 31 more about to start construction."

The report also notes that in the new policies scenario, nuclear generation in China "increases five-fold, with generation growing to 1,100 TWh by 2040 (11% of the total)."

The report also says that China is "pursuing a dual objective in nuclear technology: to adopt a standardized technology for long-term nuclear development, and to develop the technology needed for this in China, so that it becomes self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as in other elements of the [nuclear] fuel cycle."

--Oliver Adelman,
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,