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IAEA Predicts Continued Expansion of Nuclear Power in Coming Decades

According to the IAEA´s 2008 high projection, growth in nuclear generation will match the 3.2% per year growth in overall generation. In the photo, the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant, Czech Republic. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA) 11 September 2008: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released the 2008 edition of ‘Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period to 2030,' which predicts that, in line with growing global demand for energy, nuclear power will continue to expand in the coming decades.

The IAEA's projections reflect major expansion plans under way in countries like China and India, and new policies and interest in nuclear power emerging in countries like the UK and the US. The IAEA also reports that the power source's share of global electricity generation dropped another percentage point in 2007, to 14%. Hans-Holger Rogner, Head of the IAEA's Nuclear Energy Planning and Economic Studies Section, attributed the expected rise in nuclear power to rising costs of natural gas and coal, as well as new environmental constraints such as entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol and the European carbon trading scheme. He explained that these factors mean that avoiding greenhouse gas emissions is a real financial benefit. He added that nuclear power emits only three to twenty-four grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour, approximately the same as wind and hydro power. [UN Press Release]