Prospects for nuclear energy in the 21st century

Boyko А.А.


Since the birth of the nuclear power industry, high expectations have been pinned on it. However, despite expectations and periods of intensive development, nuclear power has not managed to gain a dominant position in the global energy balance in the 20th century. This fact was based on a combination of factors, including high technological barriers in the nuclear industry, the Chernobyl accident, low cost of fossil fuels in 80–90s, the development of new fields in the North and Norwegian Seas by developed countries, the expansion of energy-saving and energy efficiency technologies, etc. In the 2000s, against the backdrop of rising prices for hydrocarbons, representatives of major energy companies began to announce an ambitious plan for a «nuclear renaissance», which has would never come true. The problems were the long-term «idle time» of the production capacities of French and American companies, as well as their bad experience in the USA, France, Finland and China; the changed market conditions, in which the developing industrial countries with limited financial resources began to show more interest in the nuclear industry; the global economic crisis, followed by the development and improvement of new methods of hydrocarbon production and the diverse nature of the consequences of the accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The modern nuclear industry is increasingly reliant on government capital. Simultaneously, a new trend of small modular reactors is beginning to form. It might be of interest to private investors. The new technology might influence the balance of power in the global nuclear energy industry.


nuclear power; «nuclear renaissance»; small modular reactors; nuclear fuel cycle; Fukushima; «Rosatom»; IAEA; NuScale.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2021.02.11

Download text