nuclear prognosis

A reply to a comment by Oekologisch Interressierter who wrote:

I think I read in an article in the new “Oekotest” that the german green party did a study that nuclear energy is not growing. That is there are more reactors to be shut off soon than there reactors that are being built. So the claim that nuclear energy is growing seems to be propaganda of the nuclear industry.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find the study by the german green party you are mentioning. According to the IAEA (which is hopefully a rather neutral source) the current status of the nuclear industry is:

* 441 nuclear power reactors in operation with a total net installed capacity of 374.692 GW(e)
* 5 nuclear power reactors in long term shutdown
* 60 nuclear power reactors under construction

So according to that data nuclear power generation is currently growing. You are right that by looking at the table: Number of Operating Reactors by Age it looks as if there are a lot of reactors to be shut down soon, however it seems the shut-off reactor capacity is going to be replaced fast. From the IAEA, Press Release 2008/11: Nuclear Power Worldwide: Status and Outlook:

Low projection assumes that all nuclear capacity currently under construction or in the development pipeline gets constructed and current policies, such as phaseouts, remain unchanged. In such a scenario there would be growth in nuclear electricity production capacity to 473 gigawatt electrical (GW[e]) from the current 372 GW[e]. (A gigawatt is one billion watts).

The IAEA´s high projection, based on government and corporate announcements about longer-term plans for nuclear investments, as well as potential new national policies, such as responses to new international environmental agreements to combat climate change, estimates nuclear power electricity capacity would grow to 748 GW[e] by 2030.

This was even revised upward in 2009:
IAEA Revises Nuclear Power Projections Upward

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