7 August 2012 – Advances in reactor technology are making the generation of nuclear power safer than ever before and driving uptake in emerging countries, but the widespread suspicion of this power source shows no signs of abating, states a new report by energy industry expert GlobalData.
According to this latest research many countries are growing the nuclear power market thanks to strides made in both efficiency and safety. The introduction of technologies such as the Generation IV (Gen IV) reactor and the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) are boosting the profile of nuclear power in countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.
Gen IV reactors offer a higher efficiency of about 40% – 50%, which helps to reduce the consumption of nuclear fuel in comparison with the current generation of nuclear reactors. The key advantage of the EPR design is the mitigation of situations resulting in a nuclear disaster, such as core meltdown, hydrogen accumulation (which can lead to an explosion) and the release of radiation from the containment building.
But despite these improvements, and the reassuring results of stress tests initiated at plants across the world following the 2011 Fukishima nuclear disaster, global public sentiment is still vehemently anti-nuclear.
Countries including Japan, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland have all experienced extreme public resistance and policy changes regarding nuclear power, with the latter three nations opting to completely end production by 2034.
Prior to the Fukishima catastrophe, Japan had ambitious plans to construct nine new reactors by 2020, and another five by 2030. Japan will continue to use nuclear power as part of its energy mix, but the shock of 2011 compounded by the following public backlash has forced the government to rethink its plans.
GlobalData expects that emerging nuclear countries will add more than 95,000 MW in global nuclear capacity installed by 2030.