The nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant resulted in a slowing of the expansion of nuclear power but did not reverse it, says the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Annual Report for 2011.
The accident in Japan in 2011 also led to the retirement of a dozen nuclear reactors -- four reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant itself and eight in Germany, says the report released on Friday.
At the end of 2011, there were 435 power reactors in operation with a total capacity of 369 GW(e)), 2% less than at the beginning of the year. The decrease was due to the permanent retirement of 13 reactors.
Seven new reactors were connected to the grid, an increase from five new reactors in 2010, two in 2009 and none in 2008.
The Agency's post-accident projections of global nuclear power capacity in 2030 were 7-8% lower than what was projected before the accident. Capacity is now expected to grow to 501 GW(e) in 2030 in the low projection and to 746 GW(e) in the high projection.
The number of nuclear reactors in operation in 2030 is expected to increase by about 90. Most of the growth will likely occur in countries that already have operating nuclear power plants. Member States in Asia as well as Russia are expected to be the centers of expansion, says the report.
Of the 64 new power reactors under construction at the end of 2011, 26 were in China, 10 in Russia, 6 in India and 5 in South Korea. However, some countries, such as Germany, decided to phase out and discontinue the use of nuclear power. Several other countries, such as Austria,Denmark, Greece and New Zealand, continued to exclude the nuclear power option.
Covering the period 1 January to 31 December, the IAEA Annual Report for 2011 highlights important developments in the peaceful applications of nuclear technology, milestones in international cooperation on nuclear, radiation, waste, and transport safety; and developments in safeguards and the non-proliferation regime.
by RTT Staff Writer
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