The world’s nuclear industry fell farther behind renewable energy in 2014, receiving an order of magnitude less investment and supplying less than 11% of global electricity for the third year in a row, independent analysts Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt reported last week in the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015.
“What is spectacular is the extent to which the nuclear industry is appearing to ignore reality,” they write. In 2014, nuclear construction starts world-wide fell to three, from 15 in 2010, Japan kept the lights on without nuclear for a full calendar year, and French nuclear manufacturer Areva saw its shares lose 90% of their value from 2007 to July 9, 2015. Areva’s Hinkley Point C reactor in the UK “is in shambles,” and the company is far over budget on its Olkiluoto 3 project in Finland and its Flamanville 3 unit in France, neither of which has gone into service.
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“China, which leads the world in new nuclear builds, spent about $9 billion in 2014, but invested more than $83 billion on wind and solar in the same year,” Tweed writes. “China’s non-hydro renewable fleet produces more energy than its nuclear capacity.”
Three-quarters of the world’s 62 nuclear reactors under construction were delayed, and “in 10 of the 14 building countries, all projects are delayed, often by years,” Schneider and Froggatt note. “Five units have been listed as ‘under construction’ for over 30 years.”
“The impressively resilient hopes that many people still have of a global nuclear renaissance are being trumped by a real‐time revolution in efficiency‐plus‐renewables‐plus-storage, delivering more and more solutions on the ground every year,” wrote Jonathon Porritt, co-founder of the Forum for the Future, in his foreword to the report. Schneider’s and Froggatt’s analysis “remorselessly lays bare the gap between the promise of innovation in the nuclear industry and its delivered results.”
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