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Global nuclear investments on the rise: $91 billion to be spent in next 2 years

Nuclear power can be a polarising energy source, but as countries seek cleaner, low-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels, investments in nuclear are projected to soar in the coming years, particularly in China, India and Russia, the latest research from Rystad Energy shows. The consultancy estimates $91 billion will be invested in the global nuclear sector by the end of next year

Global nuclear investments on the rise: $91 billion to be spent in next 2 years

Oslo, December 21 - Neftegaz.RU. Investments in nuclear are expected to total $45 billion in 2022 and $46 billion in 2023, up from $44 billion in 2021, with 52 reactors currently under construction in 19 countries worldwide.
Once completed, this new infrastructure will deliver 54 GW of new installed capacity, reported Rystad.

Global installed nuclear power capacity totalled nearly 400 GW last year and accounted for almost 10% of global electricity generation.
Building a new nuclear plant takes at least 5 years, so capacity increases are unlikely in the near term, meaning the sector will experience a decline in capacity caused by recent shutdowns.
However, global investments are rising due to countries with well-defined nuclear expansion plans, and capacity will as a result increase in the long term.

Rystad Energy analyst Karan Satwani said:
  • Nuclear generation is the 2nd-largest source of low-carbon electricity after hydropower and has been in use since the 1950s
  • With the imperative to cut emissions stepping up worldwide, nuclear power generation is set to play an important role in the push to limit global warming
Europe is the region with the most installed capacity at more than 170 nuclear reactors in operation, contributing to just under a 3rd of global nuclear installed capacity.
French operator Electricite de France has 56 reactors in its portfolio alone.
Asia is in 2nd place with about 140 nuclear reactors in operation and holds a market share of just over 30%.

North America, chiefly driven by the US, is responsible for nearly 28% of the global total with 112 operational nuclear reactors.
Global installed capacity is likely to remain stable over the next 2 years as new reactors are cancelled out by the closure of existing nuclear plants.

Most of this growth will be in Asia, which is expected to increase its share of nuclear power generation in the coming years.
Asia has 32 nuclear reactors under construction that will generate over 30 GW in electricity annually, with China, India and South Korea primarily driving the region’s growth.

China is planning at least 150 new nuclear reactors over the next 15 years at a total estimated cost of $440 billion.
4 nuclear-generation projects started construction in 2021 – 3 in China and one in Turkey.

India is also exploring a multitude of options to reduce its carbon emissions.
In September, the New Delhi administration announced a target of tripling its annual nuclear power generation compared with current levels in the next 10 years.

Earlier this year, US President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that includes $6 billion to establish a new Civil Nuclear Credit program - a critical investment that aims to extend the life of the existing reactor fleet in the US and ensure they operate safely for as long as is technically possible.

Although several countries are planning to invest significantly in the nuclear sector and are prioritising a role for nuclear power as part of the energy transition, some others are opting out of nuclear power altogether in light of concerns over safety and other issues, opting instead to shift their focus to other sources of energy, said Rystad.

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