The world’s thirst for electricity will continue to support demand for nuclear power, according to Jane Nakano of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. An article by The Japan Times reports on a recent seminar in Tokyo and highlights Nakano’s comments on the outlook for nuclear power in a post-Fukushima world. The Japan Times points out that global energy consumption is projected to increase 50 percent by 2035, with 85 percent coming from developing countries. Amid international concern following the Fukushima accident, many countries planning nuclear reactors have sustained their development efforts. Nakano explained that China, Russia, India, and a few other countries will be the driving forces behind new nuclear builds. “Today, about 65 reactors are under construction, and about 40 percent of them are being built in China alone,” she said.
Additionally, the growing market will generate greater competition between nuclear reactor suppliers as South Korea and eventually China look to export their technology. For example, South Korea successfully leveraged government support in their 2009 bid to supply reactors to the United Arab Emirates. Nakano remarked that it is “a matter of when, not if, China will become one of the established suppliers of nuclear reactors in the global scene.” Furthermore, slowing demand in mature economies that are also nuclear suppliers–France, U.S., and Japan–has pushed sales efforts overseas. These developments will make competition especially tough in “third-party markets such as Vietnam, Jordan, and Turkey.”
In the United States, nuclear construction projects are moving forward, but the low price of natural gas and uncertainty over federal loan guarantee programs may hinder future projects. Nakano noted that Fukushima has not posed a challenge to the U.S. market, and the Obama administration has continued to support the nuclear industry.
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