Nuclear power output could double by 2030 - IAEA

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VIENNA, Oct 24 (Reuters) The world's output of nuclearpower could nearly double by 2030, fuelled by demand from energy-hungry emerging economies and fears about security of supply and climate change, the UN said today.

But the share that nuclear energy will contribute to global electricity production is still set to decline over the same period, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in its latest annual projection of growth of nuclear power.

Much of the expansion in nuclear-generated electricity will be in the far east and south Asia, IAEA nuclear energy analyst Alan McDonald said in an online interview.

''China and India have booming economies, booming populations and growing energy demand,'' he said. ''They basically need to develop all the energy sources they can.'' Currently, nuclear generation only accounts for 2 per cent of China's total power output and 3 per cent of India's.

Of the 31 nuclear power plants currently being built, 16 are in developing countries, mostly China and India.

For others nuclear power is more about supply security.

''In Japan and South Korea the problem is not so much the booming population as it is the lack of indigenous oil and gas resources in particular, and so for them nuclear is attractive for energy security reasons, and also -- particularly in Japan -- for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,'' said McDonald.

PROJECTIONS The IAEA report makes low and high-case projections.

The low-case projection assumes all nuclear capacity under construction or firmly in development is completed and attached to the grid without adding other capacity. That means output of nuclear-generated electricity will rise by a quarter by 2030.

The high-case projection assumes other reasonable projects will go ahead, and forecasts output will rise by 93 per cent.

A high-case projection for western Europe, on the basis that Germany keeps its nuclear power plants running and Britain replaces outgoing ones, foresees capacity for nuclear powerrising by 20 per cent by 2020.

But if Germany and Belgium phase out their nuclear programmes and Britain replaces retiring nuclear plants with other power sources it will fall 40 per cent by 2030.

The United States -- which has 103 reactors providing a fifth of its electricity -- could see capacity expand by between 15 and 50 per cent, said McDonald.

But even though nuclear capacity will expand in absolute terms, its share of all generation will fall because other sources of electricity will grow faster.

In 1960, nuclear accounted for less than one percent of global electricity production. Its share rose to 16 per cent in themid-eighties and has kept steady around this level until now.

By 2030, this share is expected to drop to around 13 per cent, the IAEA said.


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