What Nuclear Energy Renaissance?

Repeatedly in recent years there have been calls for a revival of civilian nuclear power. Yet the renaissance never seems to come - on the contrary, nuclear power's share in total energy production worldwide is on the decline.

ZURICH – Repeatedly in recent years there have been calls for a revival of civilian nuclear power. Yet that renaissance never seems to come. 

Indeed, of the more than 200 countries in the world, only 30 use nuclear power. In July 2010, a total of 439 nuclear power plants with a net installed capacity of 373.038 GW(e) were connected to various national electricity grids, about 1.2 GW(e) more than at the beginning  of 2006.

Roughly 16% of total energy needs (up to 25% in the highly industrialized countries) are now met by electric energy. Nuclear fission’s contribution to total electric energy has decreased from about 18% more than ten years ago to about 14% in 2008. On a worldwide scale, nuclear energy is thus only a small component of the global energy mix, and its share, contrary to widespread belief, is not on the rise.

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