Technology roadmap: nuclear energy

Nuclear power is a critical element in limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and a new Technology Roadmap co-authored by the IEA and the Nuclear Energy Agency outlines the next steps for growth in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan and the economic crisis and its effect on financing. The new publication finds that the prospects for nuclear energy remain positive in the medium to long term despite a negative impact in some countries in the aftermath of the accident. While nuclear power’s share of global electricity generation was 10% lower in 2013 than in 2010, principally because of Japan’s 48 operable reactors remaining idle, it is still the second-largest source worldwide of low-carbon electricity. And the 72 reactors under construction at the start of last year were the most in 25 years. Technology Roadmap: Nuclear Energy 2015 Update offers a vision of the best ways to accomplish that growth, looking at current and new technologies; the need to meet increased safety requirements and improve constructability through optimised design, standardisation and more efficient supply chains; financing options and implementation of waste-management solutions. The Roadmap also addresses the challenge of decommissioning hundreds of reactors that will reach the end of their operating life by the middle of the century as well as building the necessary infrastructure and capacity building in newcomer countries. And it stresses the importance of restoring public confidence in nuclear power.

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