World Energy Scenarios 2019: The Future of Nuclear - Diverse Harmonies in the Energy Transition

Sept. 25, 2019

There is increasing and widespread recognition that nuclear energy will feature in the future global energy mix and make its contribution to sustainable development. The growth of nuclear energy and its role in the global energy transition will be influenced by a number of factors.
The pace and direction of the global energy transition is part of a much wider set of global developments. The Grand Transition is under way and implies a fundamental socio-economic transition in response to the promise of a coming era of digital and ecological productivity. Within this broader context, the outlook for nuclear and other forms of energy is being shaped by a complex and unpredictable interplay of global drivers of change – including decentralisation, decarbonisation, digitalisation and evolving geopolitics. Multiple possible pathways are emerging for managing a successful global energy transition from hydrocarbon molecules to low-carbon energy.
Recognising the diversity of perspectives on nuclear energy, the World Energy Council, with contributions from the World Nuclear Association, has gathered insights from senior energy leaders on the future of the industry. This work has contributed to the Council’s new global nuclear perspectives, which have been fed into an update of the Council’s World Energy Scenarios.
In this report, the future of nuclear is described through the lens of the Council’s World Energy Scenarios archetype framework – Modern Jazz, Unfinished Symphony and Hard Rock – in three plausible, alternative pathways for the future development of the sector. This report also describes implications for the role of nuclear energy in the global energy transition.
This report aims at facilitating strategic sharing of knowledge between experts and promoting a better quality of strategic conversation among the Council’s members, energy stakeholders and policy shapers.