Issue Date: September 7, 2009
German Report Doubts Nuclear Resurgence
A combination of construction delays, cost overruns, trained workforce limitations, manufacturing bottlenecks, and country-specific barriers is likely to limit international growth of nuclear power over the next two decades, according to the latest report from the German Federal Ministry of Environment. In 2008, there were 435 reactors operating worldwide, the "World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2009" states, down from a peak of 444 in 2002. For the first year in more than 50 years, however, no new plant was connected to the grid. Some 52 plants are considered to be under construction, the report notes, but it predicts less than half are likely to be completed, resulting in a downward trend in operating reactors, when retirement age for the current reactors is figured in. The report says the average age of the world's reactors is 25 years, and assuming a 40-year operating life, 94 reactors would have to be planned, built, and in operation by 2015—one every month and a half—to make up for reactors shut down by age. The report notes, however, that the U.S. has extended the operating lifetimes of many of its reactors from 40 to 60 years, a move that may be considered globally to make up for lost generating capacity. The report is available at http://www.bmu.de/english/nuclear_safety/downloads/doc/44832.php.
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