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Nuclear Power Crawls Forward

Written By David D'Angelo on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 | 6/25/2008

According to the Worldwatch Institute's latest Vital Signs Update, nuclear power grew by less than 2,000 megawatts in 2007, to 372,000 megawatts total. This growth is one-tenth the amount of new wind power capacity installed globally in 2007.

This snapshot of important nuclear data and trends reveals that:

  • Four countries (China, France, Russia, and South Korea) were building seven new nuclear reactors in 2007 that will account for 5,190 megawatts of new capacity—100 megawatts less than was completed in 2006.
  • The commercial nuclear industry has retired 124 reactors since 1964.
  • Asia showed the most growth, with China and India accounting for more than a quarter of the nuclear capacity currently being built worldwide.
  • Construction delays and cost overruns continue to plague the nuclear industry, raising questions about the economic viability of future projects.

Of the 34 reactors currently being built, 12 have been under construction for 20 years or more. The two reactors now being built in the Americas, one in the United States and the other in Argentina, began construction in the 1980s.

Read the Vital Signs Update: Nuclear Power Crawls Forward

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