The world needs to quadruple the rate it is adding nuclear power
capacity to the grid by the 2020s if it is to meet climate targets,
according to a new report from thinktank the International Energy
2015 technology roadmap for nuclear energy, published jointly
with the Nuclear Energy Agency, suggests nuclear power capacity
needs to more than double by 2050 as part of cost-effective efforts
to limit warming to two degrees.
Carbon Brief takes you through the roadmap's findings and its
recommendations for securing a nuclear contribution to avoiding
dangerous climate change.
Contributing to climate goals
The IEA takes an all-of-the-above approach to cutting emissions.
Its executive director Maria van der Hoeven says all low-carbon
energy sources, including nuclear, will be required for the "energy
revolution" we need to meet climate goals.
Nuclear-free scenarios that successfully combat climate change
developed by other organisations, but they would require
extremely ambitious efforts across areas including energy
efficiency, land-use change and diets that not all experts believe
to be achievable.
So to what extent might emissions be reduced by ramping up
nuclear power, according to the IEA? Under its two degrees
scenario, it thinks nuclear power capacity will need to more than
double by 2050, to 930 gigawatts. That's significantly less
optimistic than the
IEA's 2010 nuclear roadmap, which put 2050 nuclear capacity at
Most additional capacity will be in China (the lilac area in the
chart below). Other growth areas include Russia, India and the UK,
which has "one of the most ambitious newbuild programmes" in the
OECD group of wealthier nations, according to the IEA. These plans
include the high-profile
Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset, among
IEA 2015 technology roadmap for nuclear energy