The global return of nuclear energy
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a longtime critic of nuclear power, said in June that she had changed her mind about California’s last nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon. Shutting it down, she said, makes little sense « in these circumstances. »
Even before the current global energy crisis, experts warned for years that nuclear exits like Germany’s would cut energy supplies at a time when countries are moving away from fossil fuels to meet climate mandates. Nuclear energy has been in decline for decades. In 1996, it provided around 17% of the world’s energy production; today it is around 10%. After the Fukushima accident in 2011, anti-nuclear sentiment swept the world, with Japan and Germany paving the way for a complete nuclear phase-out. In the United States, 12 reactors have been shut down since 2012. The Energy Information Administration predicts that nuclear’s share of US electricity generation will decline to 11% by 2050, from 20% today.