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However, despite these many attractions, nuclear power seems to go forward only where governments heavily subsidize its operation, such as in China and India today.
Its energy output is not intermittent, as is the case with wind and solar.
And though the overall costs of nuclear are rising, they are arguably competitive with other low-greenhouse-gas electric-generation alternatives.
In May 2007, China’s National Development and Reform Commission announced that its target nuclear generation capacity for 2030 is 120 to 160 GW! The fairly tepid projections for nuclear power outside of Asia are due to several factors, but two are particularly significant: the extraordinarily high capital investment required, and the continued public wariness about nuclear power, driven by an amalgam of concerns over safety, radioactive waste disposal, and nuclear proliferation.
In June 2008, the China Electrical Council projected 60 GW of nuclear capacity by 2020! The recent literature shows a range of costs both for nuclear and its competitors.
On the other hand, renewables are expanding rapidly everywhere; the experience with new nuclear construction has not been good; and public acceptance of growth in nuclear power still appears low.
In addition, the price tag for nuclear reactors is high and getting more marked.
Nuclear power growth is stagnant or negative in most of the industrialized countries, and there is still today, outside of China and India, almost no nuclear power in the developing countries.
In 2007, world nuclear electricity generation dropped by 2 percent; in 2008, for the first time in nuclear power’s history, no new reactor was connected to the grid anywhere.
The lesser interest in nuclear in unregulated markets, where the risks are borne by competing market players, is not hard to understand.
In a competitive market, the construction of a new nuclear power plant could represent a tremendous risk, as noted, for example, in the May 2008 report from Moody Investors Service.