G Chandrashekhar

India, Pakistan are only two countries starting construction of N- power plant

G. Chandrashekhar Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on December 07, 2011

DECELERATING NUKE POWER





India and Pakistan are the only two countries starting construction of a nuclear power plant in 2011, even as plants are being shut down in many countries and nuclear power generation has declined.

It may be a little too early to predict the long-term decline of nuclear energy; but analysis indicates that countries are turning to other energy sources as a result of high costs, low demand and perceived risks from recent disasters.

Despite reaching record levels in 2010, global installed nuclear capacity - the potential power generation from all existing plants - declined to 366.5 gigawatts (GW) in 2011, from 375.5 GW at the end of 2010.

Fall in production

“Due to increasing cost of production, a slowed demand for electricity and fresh memories of disaster in Japan, production of nuclear power fell in 2011,” the Washington DC-based Worldwatch Institute said in its report recently.

Much of the decline in installed capacity is the result of halted reactor construction around the world, the report pointed out adding in the first ten months of the current year, as many as 13 nuclear reactors were closed, thereby reducing the total number of reactors in operation around the world from 441 at the beginning of the year to 433.

It is also interesting that while construction of 16 new reactors began in 2010 — the highest number in over a decade — the number fell to just to two in 2011. The two countries to start construction are India and Pakistan.

Pointing out that China is an exception to the global slump in nuclear electricity generation in terms of both the number of plants being built and capacity of planned installations, the report added that the US too does not seem to be abandoning its nuclear power just yet.

Prominence to decline

Although nuclear power remains an important energy source for many countries, including Russia and France, it is likely that its prominence will continue to decrease.

To maintain current generation levels, the world would need to install an additional 18 GW by 2015 and another 175 GW by 2025. In the aftermath of Fukushima and in the context of a fragile global economy, an increase that sharp is improbable, the independent research organisation pointed out.

China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, and South Korea have together contributed around five GW of new installed capacity since the beginning of 2010. During this same period, nearly 11.5 GW of installed capacity has been shut down in France, Germany, Japan, and the UK.

gchandra@thehindu.co.in

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Published on December 07, 2011
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