This year’s version of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) is out, and its message is not a happy one for nuclear power proponents. As former Tennessee Valley Authority chairman S. David Freeman notes in a foreword, “The report makes clear, in telling detail, that the debate is over. Nuclear power has been eclipsed by the sun and the wind. These renewable, free-fuel sources are no longer a dream or a projection—they are a reality [and] are replacing nuclear as the preferred choice for new power plants worldwide.”
As in previous years, the report—coordinated by Paris-based independent nuclear consultant Mycle Schneider—provides an almost-daunting array of data on almost every aspect of nuclear power plant construction and operation. This year’s report also includes an assessment of what it calls “the financial crisis of the nuclear sector,” a status update on the Fukushima nuclear situation, and a chapter that compares investments in, capacity of, and generation from nuclear, solar, and wind energy installations on a worldwide basis.
Doubtless, nuclear power supporters will argue against some (and perhaps many) of the conclusions that Schneider and co-author Antony Froggatt express in the report. But the data the report presents—data underlying the Global Nuclear Power Database, an interactive visualization that the WNISR developed for the Bulletin—are truly comprehensive. Anyone interested in nuclear power will likely find the report worth at least a first look, and probably a second and third.