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Who is building new nuclear power plants?

There has been a lot of talking about the renaissance of nuclear power in the light of global warming and increasing oil prices. So let’s have a look at the global situation: Who is building new nuclear power stations and who is just talking about?

  • President George W. Bush announced the building of up to fifty (50) new nuclear power plants in the USA after he got elected as president for the first time. Now we have the year 2008, i.e. eight years after he made his announcement and still no (zero, 0) new nuclear power plants are under construction in the United States.
  • In the European community, France is currently building an additional nuclear power station but the building process has been interrupted (if not stopped) by the French court of law due to severe security problems. In Finland an additional nuclear power plant is being built. It is already heavily delayed and the cost are running out of control. At the same time, 7 or 8 existing power plants have been phased-out in Europe.
  • The United Kingdom announced the installation of several new nuclear power plants. According to the announcement, the new plants should be privately financed. All but one of the 19 nuclear plants now producing about 20% of UK electricity will close by 2023. As of September 2008, there are still no new nuclear power plants either being installed or in advanced planning stage in the UK – and there are no serious private investors in sight, either.
  • The French president Sarkozy travelled to Libia and sold a nuclear power plant to Libia. (How much sense does it make sense to provide a country like Libia with nuclear technology? It is very obivous that Mr. Sarkozy was desperatly looking for an additional customer to keep the French nuclear power industry (AREVA) alive.)

We can summarize that new nuclear power plants are currently only being installed in countries where there is no free market for electricity or where nuclear power gets subsidized by the government or where geopolitical goals (Iran, Libia, Brasilia) are the main focus.

At the same time, both the number of active nuclear power plants and the electricity produced from nuclear energy has been decreasing worldwide. Worldwide figutes (see image below)

  • Between the years 2008 and 2015, the number of operating nuclear power plants worldwide will be reduced by 70 plants. The installed electrical capacity for nuclear power will be reduced by 40’000 MWe.
  • Between the years 2016 and 2025, the number of operating nuclear power plants worldwide will be reduced by another 192 plants. The installed electrical capacity for nuclear power will be further reduced by 168’000 MWe.

The source for these figures is IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)’s PRIS (Power Reactor Information System) with data from the year 2008. The graph below has been taken from a presentation from Dr. Lutz Metz, Freie Universität Berlin on 12. Sept. 08 in Zurich with the title “Die Mär von der Renaissance der Atomenergie” (the tale of a renaissance of nuclear power).

What we see is not a renaissance of the nuclear industry. It is only a renaissance for the propaganda of the atomic industry!

Projection of nuclear power usage 2008 - 2056
Projection of new nuclear reactors
ΞNuclear power