The International Energy Agency 2DS (2°C Scenario, Figure 2) envisages a substantial increase in the contribution from nuclear energy, rising to 7000 TWh by 2050 – enough to supply about 17% of global electricity in a world where consumption has doubled. Because the availability and scalability of some technologies in 2DS remain unproven, the World Nuclear Association’s Harmony vision sets higher targets for nuclear power: 25% of electricity in 2050, which is estimated to require construction of 1000 GWe of new nuclear capacity when retirements are taken into account. One possible pathway to this target would be to build 10 GWe a year between 2015 and 2020, step this up to 25 GWe per year to 2025 and then 33 GWe per year to 2050. Industry performed at this level in 2015, adding 9.875 GWe of new capacity and prompting the IEA to state: “Progress and construction times in 2015 show the long-term 2DS targets to be more achievable than previously thought.”
The Chinese nuclear program continued to deliver predictable series construction of large reactors. In 2015 new units were connected to the grid at Fangjiashan, Fuqing, Hongyanhe, Ningde, Changjiang, Fangchenggang and two at Yangjiang. Construction started on two new units at Fuqing and another two at Hongyanhe
According to the Chinese government’s Energy Development Strategy Action Plan, 2014-2020 it will cut reliance on coal fired generation and promote the use of low-carbon energy, confirming the 2012 target of 58 GWe of nuclear online by 2020, with 30 GWe more under construction.
The plan called for the “timely launch” of new nuclear power projects on China’s eastern coast and for feasibility studies for the construction of inland plants. It said that efforts should be focused on promoting the use of large pressurized water reactors (including the AP1000 and CAP1400 designs), high temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTRs) and fast reactors.
India’s overall goal is to have 14.5 GWe of nuclear generating capacity online by 2024, compared to 6219 MWe in early 2016.
Construction times in East Asia (China, Japan and South Korea) have been consistently around 55 months whereas in South Asia (India and Pakistan) these have varied from 153 months to 63 months
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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