The companies that are leading the development of nuclear generation in the UK are also at the forefront of a worldwide nuclear renaissance. The UK supply chain has the opportunity to contribute to the growth in nuclear capacity that is taking place in every region of the world.
There are currently 64 power reactors under construction in 14 countries around the world, more than 160 are planned with a potential net capacity of 178,000 MWe, and over three hundred additional reactors are proposed.
Increasing energy demand, concerns over climate change and dependence on overseas supplies of fossil fuels are coinciding to make the case for increasing use of nuclear power.
Countries with established programmes are seeking to replace old reactors as well as expand existing capacity, and an additional 45 countries are either considering or have already decided to make nuclear energy part of their power generation mix. However, most (over 80%) of the expansion in this century is likely to be in countries already using nuclear power.
China is embarking upon a ten-fold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 60 GWe by 2020, 200 GWe by 2030, and 400 GWe by 2050.
India aims to have 14,600 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020, with a view to achieving 25% electricity supply by 2050.
The UAE has started construction of the first of four commercial nuclear power reactors, aiming to achieve a total of 5.6 GWe, by 2020.
Communities in Finland and Sweden have accepted the local construction of permanent disposal sites for nuclear waste.
A World Nuclear Association exercise "Nuclear Century Outlook" projects possible expansion in world nuclear generating capacity. From a base of 373 GWe today it projects the potential for at least 1130 GWe by 2060 and up to 3500 GWe by then. The upper projection for 2100 is 11,000 GWe.
An important element in this global expansion of nuclear power is that international cooperation and commerce is growing. Major nuclear industry companies span several countries, giving much enhanced international collaboration. At the same time, countries with an established nuclear industry can, through formal international collaboration under the auspices of the IAEA, assist developing countries to gain access to advanced technologies, helping them to address poverty without emissions of greenhouse gases.
Projected figures and timelines given here are referenced from the World Nuclear Association (WNA). Please visit the WNA websitesite where a whole host of public information is made available. Or click on the following links for the in-depth articles relating to planned reactors and emerging nuclear energy countries.