Why The World Needs More Nuclear Power

China was in third place with a 10.9% global share of nuclear generation. However, China’s nuclear program is noteworthy, as they are only one of two countries that grew nuclear power by an annual average above 10% over the past decade. (Pakistan is the other country, but they have a minuscule 0.4% global share). China also has more nuclear power plants being planned than any other country.

Rounding out the Top 5 global nuclear producers were Russia (7.6% global share) and South Korea (4.9% global share).

Japan had the largest percentage increase of nuclear power in 2018, with a 68.9% rise over 2017 production. Nevertheless, nuclear generation in Japan remains well below pre-Fukushima levels.

Japan wasn’t the only country that experienced growth in nuclear power in 2018. China, Switzerland, Pakistan, Taiwan, Mexico, and Argentina all experienced double-digit gains in nuclear power generation from 2017. Countries with double-digit declines were South Korea, Belgium, and South Africa.

Germany remains committed to completely phasing out nuclear power, but the country’s nuclear power generation was nearly unchanged from 2017. Germany remains one of the world’s Top 10 producers of nuclear power.

Nuclear Power’s Impact

As I pointed out in the previous article, renewables like wind and solar are poised to generate more electricity globally than nuclear power either this year or next year. While we can celebrate the fact that renewables are growing, it’s important to keep in mind that they aren’t growing rapidly enough to stop the growth of power produced from fossil fuels. Further, these sources don’t represent firm power that can be called upon on demand.

Last year global consumption of coal, oil, and natural gas was nearly four times the growth in renewables. As a result, global carbon dioxide emissions set a new all-time high in 2018. Those trends are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The world will experience a rapid growth rate for renewables, but even greater overall growth from fossil fuels.

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