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THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY – May 2024, by Sid Crouch, GTTSi Chief Technical Consultant

  • By Admin
  • April 29, 2024

Although the United States is still the largest producer of nuclear energy in the world with 95 operational commercial nuclear plants counting Vogtle 3 & 4, this preeminence may soon to be outdone by China and others.

While 440 nuclear power plant reactors are still operating worldwide, since 1950, 214 nuclear power plant reactors have been decommissioned, 31 of which in the U.S.

Across the globe, 56 new nuclear reactors are planned for operation by 2030, adding 62,300 MW of electrical capacity worldwide. Twelve are scheduled for completion this year, with 8 more planned for service in 2025, 10 in 2026, eleven for 2027, 7 for 2028, 3 for 2029, and 5 in 2030. China ranks 1st for plants under construction with 27 underway which will give the country a total of 60 nuclear power plants. India is 2nd with plans for 7 more nuclear plants adding 5,900 MW of electrical capacity. While the U.S. has coasted with its nuclear energy production, China and Russia have moved onward, also exporting their technology.

Our decline was by choice, as we had and still have the technical and financial resources to compete with Russia and China, but the political will to pursue nuclear was lacking despite its characteristic of zero carbon emissions and exemplary safety record. Today that sentiment has changed with billions of dollars touted for nuclear from the Biden administration and support of Republicans. It seems the U.S. dream for a nuclear renaissance rests with the generation of small modular reactors (SMRs). Nearly a dozen companies are developing SMRs, a fraction of the size of those at Vogtle. It’s time to get started.