IAEA Finally Stops Hiding Bad Nuclear Numbers

I recall that I tried without success in February to find out how much nuclear energy was produced in 2012 from various nuclear lobby sites. Apparently it was more than they can manage to call up the less than 400 remaining electricity producing reactors and find out their numbers.

Now, finally, IAEA has found the time to do those phone calls. They just published numbers until 2012. Thanks to this tweet by Jan Berenek for the link.

The number for 2012 was 2346.19 TWh, a level last seen in 1998. It is down around 283 TWh compared to 2010.

These numbers confirm me in my opinion that it is not a good idea to count on the nuclear bailout. Renewable energy will have to do the job of displacing fossil fuel alone.


Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

3 thoughts on “IAEA Finally Stops Hiding Bad Nuclear Numbers

  1. It appears that the World Nuclear Association last year updated it’s production numbers only in April : http://world-nuclear.org/info/Facts-and-Figures/Nuclear-generation-by-country/#.UTedt_1WXu0
    So I think that’s the usual time frame when they are available and not particularly an attempt to hide them from AIEA.

    For OECD, the IEA publishes a monthly report : http://www.iea.org/stats/surveys/elec_archives.asp but even that comprising a shorter list of countries that have better statistics is already around 3 month late.

    Over those two years, production in Japan went from 280 to 17TWh. This means the reduction in two years is essentially just the result of Japan stopping everything, more than the world as a whole really reducing nuclear.

    The two other country going significantly down were Germany, and maybe less well-known, the US. But their influence was almost fully compensated by China, and the sum of other countries going up, India, Russia, Canada, Korea. The other variation were probably more or less random, except for Belgium last years, but they received the authorization to restart the reactors recently.

    So during those two years, there was a lot of adverse factors. But fossil greens should not rejoice and make a party too fast.
    The momentum is most likely to reverse now :
    – Japan will not all further, and if Abe has it’s says even restarts some reactors which will help both the economy and the emission
    – No further shutdown is scheduled in Germany soon, and those that will happen later will not be that hard to compensate with new reactors elsewhere since it will only be occur one by one
    – The gas prices have recover to around $4 in the US, which makes the production far less competitive with coal and nuclear, and the reactors that already stopped where the weakest, small production in a poor location.
    – Foremost China has an impressive scheduled of new units to put on-line in the next 3 years, which will do a real big impact.
    – But Russia, India, and Korea together also have a significant number of unit which construction is advancing well.

    So once again the rumors about nuclear’s death are greatly exaggerated, even though progress will be much slower than anyone could wish.


  2. Thank you for your comment. It explains in more detail where the reduction came from. I have not checked your numbers, but they seem to make sense. Japan is indeed down to nearly zero.

    My wording of “hiding” is an exaggeration. I just happen to think that they should be able to get these numbers much faster with the small number of reactors involved.

    I also agree that the new Japanese government is more inclined to restart some reactors than the old one. We will see what happens.

    Just to be clear, I am certainly not rejoicing in the fact that nuclear production is down. It is, after all, low carbon energy. On the other hand, I don’t think that nuclear will be able to contribute much growth of low carbon energy in the coming decades. I may be wrong, which would be good news for the climate.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: