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Analysts say controversial power source to reach new record by 2025: 'While more progress is needed ... these are very promising trends'

Many people still see it as a contentious option.

Many people still see it as a contentious option.

Photo Credit: iStock

Experts predict the production of nuclear power will reach a new high by 2025, with forecasted growth of 3% annually on average until 2026. 

According to the International Energy Agency, as reported by World Nuclear News, nuclear output in 2026 is expected to be 10% more than what was recorded in 2023.

The IEA said the global electricity demand is expected to increase in the next three years as the world transitions to cleaner energy sources. 

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Nuclear power, a low-polluting energy source, is part of that shift, with 29 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity expected between 2024 and 2026. However, many people still see it as a controversial option.

Although nuclear reactors produce no planet-warming carbon pollution while generating electricity, unlike coal-fired power stations, the safety of the process is among the biggest concerns.

Indeed, the Chernobyl disaster, when a reactor at a power plant near Pripyat, Ukraine, exploded in 1986, is still in the minds of many. 

Around 30 deaths were associated with the disaster within the first few weeks, but the spread of radioactive material has been linked to 5,000 instances of thyroid cancer, according to the World Nuclear Association. Some 350,000 people were evacuated, and an area of 20 miles around the explosion site has been declared unsafe for human habitation to this day. 

But nuclear power has significant potential, with production sites significantly smaller than solar or wind farms and efficiency being high.

According to IEA executive director Fatih Birol, the power sector is the world's largest producer of polluting carbon dioxide, and renewable and nuclear power are essential to meet global demand sustainably.

"[Meeting the increased demand] is largely thanks to the huge momentum behind renewables, with ever cheaper solar leading the way, and support from the important comeback of nuclear power, whose generation is set to reach a historic high by 2025," Birol continued. "While more progress is needed, and fast, these are very promising trends."

At the COP28 climate summit held in December 2023, 20 countries signed a joint declaration that would see nuclear capacity tripled by 2050. According to World Nuclear News, that would see 740 gigawatts added to the existing 370 gigawatts available now. 

The need to move away from dirty fuel for energy production is becoming more apparent, with Earth experiencing its hottest year on record in 2023, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

With coal-powered plants being one of the leading contributors to planet-warming pollution, alternative options are essential to stop rising temperatures.

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