Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2021-2022
The conclusion of the 2021 World Nuclear Industry Status Report is that nuclear power is in decline. The 409-page report reveals that nuclear’s share of global electricity production is falling, having generated 3.9 percent less electricity in 2020 than the previous year. “Nuclear energy’s share of global gross electricity generation continues its slow but steady decline from a peak of 17.5% in 1996 [to] a share of 10.1% in 2020,” the report found. The report also reminds readers that “small modular reactors,” under development in the US, Canada and elsewhere, may never be commercially viable. The data indicate that renewable energy sources are fast becoming more available and increasingly cheaper than nuclear. Even China has slowed its reactor expansion and only increased its nuclear electricity capacity by 2 gigawatts (GW) in 2020, compared to a total of 133 GW from renewables. The world nuclear report also highlights the increasing levels of reported corruption in the nuclear industry, with an entire chapter devoted to the topic.