New nuclear grid connections double - now policy support is needed to deliver more

2 June 2016

Improvements in nuclear construction times are now making climate goals more achievable than previously thought, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.

The report states that “policy support is needed to encourage long-term operation of the existing fleet and construction of new plants, given their vital contribution to GHG emissions reductions, as well as their contribution to energy security.”

The IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 report states:

“Nuclear power plant grid connections doubled in 2015. Furthermore, progress and construction times in 2015 show the long-term 2DS(1) targets to be more achievable than previously thought. However, several policy matters have the potential to impede the deployment of new nuclear power plants. In particular, more support is needed for the existing fleet to prevent early closures.”

Agneta Rising, Director General, World Nuclear Association commented, “This report is clear. The number of new nuclear reactors starting to supply electricity to the grid doubled in 2015 and construction times for nuclear reactors are falling. Nuclear is delivering, now policy makers must support this progress.

The IEA report stresses that a broad range of clean energy technologies will be needed to achieve the imperative of decarbonising electricity generation and that recognition of their benefits is needed for them all. It states:

“Decarbonising electricity generation is an imperative in order to meet 2DS targets. Final electricity prices need to reflect the environmental and other costs of fossil-based generation. Recognition needs to be given to the emissions reductions that clean energy generation can provide and the energy security and flexibility made possible by these resources, whether variable and distributed renewables or large centralised clean energy solutions such as nuclear and CCS.”

“Market incentives – in the form of carbon taxes or electricity market arrangements, or both – are needed to favour all low-carbon technologies.”

Agneta Rising said, “Nuclear energy, working in harmony with other low carbon energy sources, can make a significant contribution to a future energy mix that meets our needs and protects our environment. That means decarbonising existing electricity supplies and also ensuring clean and reliable electricity is provided to developing countries still lacking secure supplies.


  1. The IEA 2DS (Two Degree Scenario) lays out an energy system deployment pathway and an emissions trajectory consistent with at least a 50% chance of limiting the average global temperature increase to 2°C. This goal was endorsed by the COP 21 Paris Agreement.


The World Nuclear Association is the industry organisation that represents the global nuclear industry. Its mission is to promote a wider understanding of nuclear energy among key international influencers by producing authoritative information, developing common industry positions, and contributing to the energy debate, as well as to pave the way for expanding nuclear business.

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