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Global nuclear power contribution falls to lowest since 1980s via Reuter

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Nuclear’s share of global power generation has fallen to 10.8 percent, down from a high of 17.6 percent in 1996 and the the lowest since the 1980s, it said.

The report also pointed to delays in construction projects, even in China, where the government is strongly pushing for nuclear power to replace heavy carbon emitting coal stations.

Of the 67 reactors under construction globally as at July 2014, at least 49 were experiencing delays and eight had been under construction for 20 years, it said.

The average age of reactors has also increased, rising to more than 28 years, while more than 170 units, or 44 percent of the total, have been operating for more than 30 years or more.

“More than 200 reactors may face shutdown in the coming two decades,” Tatsujiro Suzuki, a former Vice Chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, said in the foreword of the report.

“If new construction pace does not match the pace of shutdown, it is clear that the nuclear share will decline rapidly,” Suzuki said.

Renewable energy is taking up an increasing share of the energy mix, the report said. Installed solar capacity in China topped operating nuclear capacity, while in Spain more power was generated from wind in 2013 than any other source, beating nuclear for the first time.

The report’s lead authors are industry analysts Mycle Schneider, who is based in Paris, and London-based Antony Froggatt. Both have advised European government bodies on energy and nuclear policy issues.

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“The nuclear industry’s product is like a dinosaur in a flower garden,” says industry consultant Mycle Schneider, lead author and coordinator of “The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014.”

“It’s big, much too big, and it’s slow, and it’s just not appropriate in that landscape,” he says.

Nuclear power made up just 10.8 percent of power generation last year, down from a historic peak of 17.6 percent in 1996. There are also 50 fewer operating reactors compared to an industry high in 2002, and the average reactor is now 28.5 years old.

“The world’s reactor fleet is aging continuously because there’s not enough new build,” says Schneider. “I don’t know if you remember the car you drove 30 years ago, but the technology world was a different one.”

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