Paris, 9 September 2009

NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION REMAINS STABLE DESPITE THE ECONOMIC CRISIS

According to official data released today by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), nuclear electricity generation in OECD member countries has only marginally declined despite the economic downturn. Nuclear power plants provided 21.5% of the total electricity generated in the OECD area in 2008 against 21.6% in 2007.

As of 31 December 2008, 345 reactors were in operation and 15 reactors were under construction in OECD countries. A further 23 are committed for construction, mainly in the American and Pacific regions, demonstrating a renewed interest in nuclear energy.

Uranium production statistics show reliable and abundant supply, with as much as 40% of uranium production in OECD countries. Higher uranium prices have stimulated exploration and triggered the re-evaluation of known resources; some plans to increase production have, however, been delayed. Conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication capacities remain adequate to meet requirements, with expansion under way to meet increasing demand.

The 2009 edition of Nuclear Energy Data includes up-to-date official government commentary on plans for nuclear capacity in OECD member countries, which are reflected in the projections of nuclear power and electricity generation to 2035. How is Italy proceeding to reverse the 20-year ban on new nuclear construction? What are Korea’s new policies with respect to electricity generation, greenhouse gas emissions and new nuclear generation capacity? What are the prospects for new nuclear plant construction in the United States? Responses can be found in the 2009 edition of Nuclear Energy Data which provides readers with the facts and figures behind these statements. Readers will also find associated data on fuel cycle requirements, from uranium production to spent nuclear fuel reprocessing and disposal.

These are some of the findings from the just-published 2009 edition of Nuclear Energy Data, more commonly known as the “Brown Book”, the most comprehensive source of nuclear power programme and fuel cycle statistics across the OECD area.

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Nuclear Energy Data
OECD, Paris, 2009 – ISBN 978-92-64-04772-3
€ 35, US$ 47, £ 29, ¥ 4300

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NEA membership consists of 28 OECD countries. The mission of the NEA is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co-operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The NEA also provides authoritative assessments and forges common understandings on key issues, as input to government decisions on nuclear energy policy and to broader OECD policy analyses in areas such as energy and sustainable development. The information, data and analyses it provides draw on one of the best international networks of technical experts.