Existing Nuclear power can be uprated. Over 2008-10 EdF (France) plans to uprate five of its 900 MWe reactors by 3% [135Mwe, 1.1TWh/yr]. Then in 2007 EdF announced that the twenty 1300 MWe reactors would be uprated some 7% from 2015 [1820MWe], within existing licence limits, and adding about 15 TWh/yr to output.
Spain has a program to add 810 MWe (11%) to its nuclear capacity through upgrading its nine reactors by up to 13%.
The USA will be adding about 2 GW of power via uprates over the next 4 years.
MIT annular fuel technology can uprate existing reactors by 50%. Westinghouse is working on commercialization and this can be deployed before 2020.
The expected nuclear reactor completions from now until 2013
3 more nuclear reactors are starting up in 2008
7 reactors in 2009 (5200MW)
7 reactors in 2010 (5200MW)
7 reactors in 2011 (6600MW)
9 reactors in 2012 (9075MW)
16 reactors in 2013 (17120 MW)
This includes Watts Bar 2, 1180 MWe reactor is expected to come on line in 2013
47+ GW added by 2013.
China’s new nuclear power generation target for 2020 is 70GW an increase from 40GW two years ago and 60GW last year. [up from 8.6GW now]
200+ GW by 2020
If the 50% power uprate comes through, that is 1500-2000 TWh more
The time limit arguments do not hold up because there is no credible plan that adds alternative power on a faster time line. Most importantly cutting back on nuclear power build does not increase the build rate of wind and solar power.
People talk about how fast it is to assemble wind turbines, but this ignores the time needed to build the factories for components and the time needed to build all of the components.
The 2007 Global wind energy report (72 pages). It was published March 2008.
By 2020, the overall German onshore capacity could be at 45,000 MW, assuming an optimal use of sites and no general height restrictions for turbines [ie everything goes the wind industry way], with an additional 10,000MW offshore. This would account for about 25% of German electricity consumption, or about 150 TWh/year.
The EU wind target for 2020 is 477 TWh/year. This is not based on committed projects as in the case of nuclear power but on hoped for build based on desired policy changes.
Multiply this by 3 times to add possible USA, Canada, and China wind power and is 1430 TWh/year which is less than the 1500TWh for nuclear power. So nuclear power is on track based on existing projects to be adding more TWh than optimistic wind assumptions and targets by 2020.
The AWEA target is 150 GW of installed wind power in the United States that would generate about 390 TWh if the wind association plan is adopted and followed. This would be up from 20GW of wind in the USA now that will generate 48 TWh.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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