costs, and the barriers to and impacts of increased nuclear power plant deployments by 2020, by 2035, and by 2050.
Interest in new nuclear construction has also been growing around the globe, and with a new element: interest among countries that do not currently have nuclear plants. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in excess of 40 new entrant countries have expressed interest, of which 20 are actively considering construction (IAEA, 2008a).
In addition, the IAEA has recently estimated that 24 of the 30 countries with existing nuclear plants intend to build new reactors—a departure from policies of the past few decades in many countries (IAEA, 2008a). Following the Chernobyl accident in 1986, Italy banned construction of new nuclear reactors; the governments of Sweden and Germany pledged to phase out their own nuclear plants; resistance to new construction in the United Kingdom was strong; and Spain put in place a moratorium on new construction. These attitudes are now changing, likely as a result of subsequent uneventful nuclear operations and growing concerns about climate change and future energy needs.
Thus, Italy has announced plans to build nuclear plants; Sweden, after shutting down two plants, intends to reverse the planned phase-out and construct new nuclear plants; and the Labor government in the United Kingdom has recently announced plans to replace 18 nuclear plants retiring by 2023 with new ones.4 But this new outlook is not universal. The current head of the Spanish government remains opposed to nuclear power, and the current government in Germany still intends to shut down its 17 remaining nuclear plants. Meanwhile, new construction is planned or under way in Finland, France, and Japan, countries that never wavered in their support of nuclear power.
Overall, the IAEA projects that by 2030, world nuclear capacity could
Press articles discussing these developments in more detail include “Recalled to half-life,” The Economist, Feb. 12, 2009 (www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13110000); “What Sweden’s nuclear about-face means for Berlin,” Der Spiegel, Feb. 6, 2009 (www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,605957,00.html); “Italy seeks nuclear power revival with French help,” Reuters, Feb. 24, 2009 (uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKLO72469220090224); “Spain must reconsider nuclear energy,”La Vanguardia, Feb. 25, 2009 (www.eurotopics.net/en/search/results/archiv_article/ARTICLE458-0); “Governments across Europe embrace nuclear energy,” ABC, Mar. 4, 2009 (www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2008/s2507565.htm); and “Europe looking set for a Nuclear Revival,” Your Industry News, Mar. 6, 2009 (www.yourindustrynews.com/europe+looking+set+for+a+nuclear+revival_26046.html). These articles were accessed in July 2009.