EIA's 20-year forecasts predict fall in nuclear power

9 February 2005

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has forecast a steeply declining share of domestic electricity generation for nuclear power over the next 20 years. Upgrading of existing plants and the start up of the Browns Ferry plant between 2003 and 2025 is expected to result in nuclear generating capacity increasing from 99.2 GW in 2003 to 102.7 GW in 2025. However, the outlook goes on to forecast that while existing nuclear plants are expected to continue to operate, new plants are not expected to be economical.

Modest production growth will result in a 6% market share drop for nuclear generation over the period in the face of overall energy demand growth.

EIA Administrator Guy Caruso has reportedly said that if the capital costs associated with building a new nuclear plant do not fall to $1,450/kW, natural gas and pulverised coal would continue to reap the investment funds. The EIA's baseline projections put the capital cost of new nuclear plant at more than $1,900/kW.

Meanwhile, advocates for the industry have said that the federal government should set appropriate incentives in a national energy policy to encourage the building of new nuclear power plants, including loan guarantees.

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