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In its reference scenario, the IEA predicts that world nuclear capacity will increase only slightly to GWe in While new nuclear plants with a combined capacity of GWe are expected to be added by , these will simply replace older reactors being retired in France.

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The Slovak Republic and the Spanish Government have also canvassed phasing out nuclear power. While the IEA expects large declines in nuclear production in Europe and an increase in nuclear output in only a few Asian countries, it nonetheless qualifies these predictions by noting that:. These projections remain very uncertain. Shifts in government policies and public attitudes towards nuclear power could mean that this energy source plays a much more important role than projected here. The IEA also notes that interest in building nuclear reactors has increased as a result of rising fossil fuel prices, which have made nuclear power relatively more competitive.

It is concluded that new nuclear plants could produce electricity at less than five US cents per kWh.

In line with forecasts of increased nuclear generation of electricity, the IEA predicts annual demand for uranium will increase from 68 tonnes in to between 80 and tonnes by This demand is expected to be met mainly by new mine production. In its analysis of The Global Nuclear Fuel Market , the WNA develops three scenarios for nuclear power to lower, reference and upper scenarios , ranging from a slow decline in nuclear generating capacity to a substantial revival over the period.

In the reference scenario, the WNA assumes continued improvements in the relative economics of nuclear power generation against coal and gas alternatives, public acceptance problems for nuclear begin to diminish, but the concerns about global warming fail to translate into a major shift in the electricity generation mix.

This represents an annual average growth rate in nuclear generating capacity of 1. Given that world electricity demand growth is forecast, as noted above, to be substantially greater than this at 2. The WNA argues that:. The IEA assessment of nuclear shutdown capacity of GW by looks very high, given recent experience.

Although smaller and older reactors will shut down in many countries and politically-inspired closures may take place in others, the current stock of reactors is generally performing very well in economic terms and operating lives are being extended … Other features to note include the extent of actual and planned capacity increases and the widespread development of life extension programs for existing reactors as they are refurbished Belgium, France, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, USA. In the lower scenario, nuclear generating capacity still rises slightly to GWe by , but then falls away to GWe in Based on its scenarios for nuclear generating capacity, the WNA has developed demand forecasts for uranium, which take into account a range of factors including the life of existing reactors and prospects for construction of new NPPs.

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In the reference scenario, reactor uranium requirements are expected to rise from 66 tU in to 71 tU in , 84 tU in and to tU in , with an annual growth rate of 2 per cent over the period. In the upper scenario, uranium requirements are forecast to be tU in , while in the lower scenario they are 52 tU in The low projection assumes that the present barriers to nuclear deployment continue to prevail in most countries, including low electricity demand growth, continued public opposition to nuclear power and inadequate mechanisms for nuclear technology transfer and project funding in developing countries.

The low projection assumes no new nuclear power plants are built beyond what is currently under construction or firmly planned, and old NPPs are retired on schedule. In contrast, the high projection assumes a moderate revival of nuclear deployment taking into account global concerns over climate change and implementation of some policy measure to facilitate deployment such as enhancing technology transfer to developing countries.

The agencies forecast that by world nuclear capacity will grow to GWe in the low demand case and GWe in the high demand case. The low case represents growth of 22 per cent and the high case represents an increase of 44 per cent from current capacity. Accordingly, uranium requirements are projected to rise to between 82 tU and tU by , representing 22 per cent and 50 per cent increases respectively, compared to the total.

Evidence to the Committee was sharply divided on the prospects for future nuclear capacity and particularly on the outlook for new NPP construction. The installation of new nuclear capacity will increase uranium requirements where new construction outweighs reactors retirements. According to information published by the WNA, at the end of May there were 27 nuclear reactors under construction in 11 countries which will have a generating capacity of 21 GWe , with a further 38 planned or on order While existing NPPs are clustered in Europe, the US and Japan, submitters observed that new construction is currently centred in the Asian region, notably China, India and South Korea, with 18 plants or 66 per cent of the total currently under construction.

China currently has four reactors under construction and is planning a fivefold increase in nuclear capacity from 6. Elsewhere, the Russian Federation plans to raise nuclear capacity from 22 GWe to 40—45 GWe by , and has four reactors currently under construction. For Cameco, these favourable trends are expected to result in nuclear reactors being in operation by The MCA cited a number of recent developments it claims indicates that nuclear electricity generation will continue to grow:.

Similarly, the Australian Nuclear Forum ANF proposed that use of nuclear power will expand and demand for reactor fuel will increase as:. These forecasts are said to be conservative in that they make no allowance for a potential increase in nuclear generation arising from concerns over greenhouse gas emissions from other forms of electricity generation. ANSTO also noted that, to date, plans for new nuclear build have been driven primarily by energy demand and not by greenhouse gas mitigation concerns. Power plant construction is also being seen as an important option in responding to greenhouse gas emissions.

It was argued that while no new orders have yet been placed in North America, significant pre-order work is being undertaken by utilities, including applications for early site permits and the streamlining of regulatory processes. In addition, countries such as Chile, which were previously opposed to nuclear power, are now considering the nuclear option.

In the US Government launched Nuclear Power NP , a public-private partnership to identify new sites for plants, develop advanced reactor technologies and test new regulatory processes.

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NP assumes that the first new power plant order will be placed in and construction will be completed by Ten energy companies or consortia in the US have indicated that they will apply to build 16 new NPPs. In contrast to these assessments, groups critical of nuclear power argued that construction of new reactors is unlikely to keep pace with retirements. The Australian Conservation Foundation ACF argued that there is likely to be no significant expansion of global nuclear power or total uranium demand. ACF predicted that the number of nuclear power plants across the western world will decline over the next 25 years:.

The number of reactors across the USA and western Europe peaked some 15 years ago and is highly likely to continue to decline with the scheduled closure of some 50 nuclear power plants in western Europe across a range of countries, given government legislation, government policy and government schedules of closure based on ageing and unsuitability for extension of life for existing reactors.

It was argued that the only prospects for significant expansion of nuclear power are in India and China. Friends of the Earth FOE also stated that the future of nuclear power is uncertain. It was argued that, assuming a reactor life of 40 years, a total of reactors will need to be built over the next 20 years to offset reactor shutdowns. However, it was argued that total nuclear capacity will still increase, as was concluded in the forecasts summarised above.

I do not see any reduction in nuclear capacity or interest in Europe. I note the policies of the German government, I note the policies of the Swedish government and I note that those policies are timed, as it were, to possibly take effect way into the future, several changes of government away.

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In other words, for Germany it will be about before their current policies matter, if they last that long. In fact, they might not last till Christmas. The UIC argued that it is now well understood that German policies to phase out nuclear power, while simultaneously increasing renewables to 20 per cent of total electricity, will be impossible without also adding significant new capacity from fossil fuel plants. The Committee addresses these matters further in chapter four. ABARE noted that, rather than shutting down reactors, some European countries are now reconsidering nuclear energy and others are looking to extend the life of existing reactors by up to 20 years.

We believe … that the meeting of these needs will require a mix of fuels, fossil fuels, uranium and renewable energy sources.


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Specifically, BHP Billiton estimated that, as a proportion of all energy sources, nuclear power will increase. As a consequence, the company predicts a 60 per cent increase in demand for uranium over the next decade.

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As mentioned above, in addition to installed nuclear capacity and the outlook for new plant construction, the demand for uranium is also influenced by the performance and operating characteristics of reactors, and fuel management policies of utilities. The WNA explains that a rise in load factor is a main influence on demand for uranium and enrichment , with a nearly linear relationship between load factor and fuel requirements. In addition to the prospects for new nuclear build, the UIC, ANSTO, Paladin Resources and Areva emphasised the substantial increases in nuclear generating capacity that have been achieved in recent years due to gains in existing NPP availability and productivity.

Areva stated that while installed nuclear capacity increased by only 1. Thus, the average reactor capacity factor rose from 67 per cent in to over 80 per cent by the end of Similarly, Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the IAEA, has observed that in nuclear plants on average were generating electricity 71 per cent of the time, but by availability had increased to 81 per cent. The UIC noted that the increase in output from existing plants over the past five years has amounted to TWh, which is equal to the output from 33 large new nuclear plants.

Chapter 3 Australia’s uranium resources, production and exploration

The UIC also noted that a considerable number of reactors are being granted life extensions. For example, in the USA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has now approved license extensions for 30 NPPs, adding 20 years to the originally licensed plant life of 40 years. While reactors are being operated more productively, with higher capacity factors and power levels mentioned above, efficiencies are dampening demand for uranium. For example, increased burn up of nuclear fuel has reduced uranium requirements and increased enrichment requirements. Many utilities are increasing the initial enrichment of their fuel e.

Over the 20 years from , there was a 25 per cent reduction in uranium demand per kWh output in Europe. At the end of commercial nuclear reactors in operation worldwide required 67 tU or 79 t U 3O 8 , of which world uranium mine production supplied 40 tU, or approximately 60 per cent of requirements.

Coverage of annual uranium requirements by mine production rose to an estimated World uranium mine production also referred to as primary production is insufficient to meet uranium requirements, meeting an average of only 57 per cent of annual requirements over the past 14 years. The shortfall has been met by secondary sources of supply since the late s. Secondary supplies are essentially inventories, stockpiles and recycled materials of various types.