Between the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the exploding growth of the renewable energy sector, nuclear power seems to be on the sharp decline, ending what some have called the nuclear renaissance. In sharp contrast, solar and wind power are growing by leaps and bounds.
Experts from the World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR), a consortium that hails itself as the independent assessment of nuclear developments in the world, provided a status report detailing the decline and fall of nuclear power as a competitor to fossil fuel energy.
The Fukushima disaster did considerable damage to the image of nuclear power as a safe and clean energy source. In fact, experts point to this disaster as a game changer – starting a new era of suspicion and skepticism about the safety and viability of nuclear power. The WNISR report points out that 75% of the decrease is related to Fukushima. However, 16 additional countries, which included the top nuclear generators and supporters, decreased their nuclear production, too.
In 2006, nuclear power electricity peaked at 2,660 TWh and dropped to 2,346 TWh in 2012, a 7% decrease compared to 2011, and a 12% decrease compared to its 2006 peak.
The annual growth for onshore wind and solar photovoltaics has increased by 27% and 42%. 45 GW of wind and 32 GW of solar were installed during 2012, compared to only 1.2 GW of net addition to the nuclear industry.
Wind energy now produces almost 500 TWh more than it did in 2000 and solar power produces another 100 TWh more than it did in 2000. In sharp contrast, nuclear power generated 100 TWh less than it did in 2000.