Nuclear power production could as much as double by 2030 as countries seek relief from rising fossil fuel costs and a remedy against global warming, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Thursday.In other IAEA news, Mohamed ElBaradei has decided to step down as Director General of the agency at the end his term in November.
"Nuclear power, in step with growing global demand for energy, will continue expanding into the next two decades," said a summary of the latest annual version of the IAEA's Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period to 2030.
Global nuclear power generation, now estimated at 372 gigawatts yearly, is likely to rise to anywhere from 473 gigawatts to 748 gigawatts, the report by the Vienna-based U.N. agency said. A gigawatt is one billion watts.
The low end of the forecast would assume that all nuclear capacity now under construction or in the pipeline got built and current phaseout policies remained in place, it said.
The high-end projection reflects "government and corporate announcements about longer-term plans for nuclear investments, as well as potential new national policies, such as responses to new international environmental agreements to combat climate change", the report said.
IAEA energy planning chief Hans-Holger Rogner said climbing costs for natural gas and coal, coupled with increasing environmental constraints, such as the Kyoto Protocol limiting greenhouse gas emissions, were fuelling nuclear power growth.