Is nuclear power's share of electricity production expected to increase significantly?

Monday, April 4, 2022
By Jacob Alabab-Moser

Nuclear energy generated around 10% of the world's electricity in 2020, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA's "high case projection" says nuclear power could contribute about 12% of global electricity by 2050. The "low case scenario" says nuclear could decline to about 6% of total electricity generation.

Any increase in nuclear energy is expected to come from abroad, in countries like China and India. In the U.S., where the number of nuclear power plants has steadily declined since the 1990s, nuclear's share of electricity production is projected to decline from 19% today to 12% in 2050, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Experts debate the role of nuclear in reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Nuclear's minimal space requirements and capacity to produce electricity 24/7 make it an attractive option. However, high expenses and long construction times render new plants distant and uncertain prospects.

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