Home » Status report on nuclear energy – The production of nuclear power has decreased worldwide – News

Status report on nuclear energy – The production of nuclear power has decreased worldwide – News

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Status report on nuclear energy – The production of nuclear power has decreased worldwide – News


A number of countries want to increasingly promote nuclear energy again. But worldwide production is currently hardly increasing.

Year after year, German energy expert and consultant Mycle Schneider and an international team examine and document how the use of nuclear power is developing worldwide.

The latest report shows a downward trend: the number of operating nuclear power plants has fallen by four within a year and electricity production by four percent. The market share of nuclear power worldwide fell to just over nine percent.

This is a dramatic decline, similar to that after the Fukushima reactor disaster, said Schneider when presenting the report.

High costs, technical problems in France

The reasons for this lie primarily in the high planning and construction costs, which in many cases led to delays or even the cancellation of nuclear power plants. But it is also due to major production losses in France, because a number of nuclear power plants there were shut down for maintenance work.

“At the beginning of 2022 it was announced that 16 new reactors would come online. At the end of the year there were only seven,” said Schneider. For example, the new pressurized water reactor in Flamanville, France, is delayed. According to current planning, it should go online in 2024.

Hoping for new, smaller reactors

Lukas Aebi from the nuclear-friendly Swiss Nuclear Forum also does not deny that nuclear power is losing ground. He points out that electricity production from coal and gas is dominant worldwide – and will continue to grow, instead of relying on nuclear energy, which is less harmful to the climate. “That is worrying,” says Aebi.

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Nuclear energy still has potential for development, according to the representative of the Nuclear Forum. He still has high hopes for new, small, modular reactors, the so-called SMR. And this despite the fact that the most advanced SMR project in the USA was stopped just a few weeks ago. “But that had nothing to do with the technology, but rather with rising interest rates and inflation,” emphasizes Aebi.

22 countries want to build new nuclear power plants

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At the climate conference in Dubai, 22 countries committed to tripling their investments in nuclear power. In your opinion, the exit from fossil fuels and the energy transition cannot succeed without nuclear power. The problem is that it takes years, if not decades, from the planning to the commissioning of a nuclear power plant. And if humanity wants to turn the tide on global warming, the phase-out of fossil fuels must happen much faster.

The high costs of nuclear plants and therefore of the electricity they will one day produce are also an important point of discussion in Switzerland. Nevertheless, Aebi welcomes the fact that longer nuclear power plant lifetimes or even the construction of new reactors are being discussed again in this country.

This enables technology-open planning for Switzerland’s energy future, taking climate policy into account. “This is an important step for the future.”

New nuclear power plants will only take decades at best

Nuclear power instead of renewable energy is the wrong approach, says Markus Unterfinger from the nuclear-critical Swiss Energy Foundation. Incidentally, she co-financed Schneider’s report.

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“Either you invest in renewable energies that are available, cost-effective and deliver results very quickly – or you invest in a technology that takes 20 years to build,” says Unterfinger. Because you can only spend the money once.

The fiver and the Weggli don’t exist. Not even in energy policy.

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