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The Expectant Global Nuclear Energy Renaissance: Movers, Shakers and Spoilers

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The global nuclear energy sector is at crossroads. Driven by the global campaign on climate change, nuclear energy was seen as the hope of a clean alternative to fossil fuels, which raised hopes of a rejuvenation and revival of the global nuclear industry. The expectant turnaround, often termed as a nuclear energy renaissance, has though not yet come about, largely owing to public perception about the safety of nuclear plants. While it was events such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island that created the slowdown in the first place, incidents like Fukushima drove public apprehension and popular protests against upcoming nuclear power projects. On the one hand, such apprehensions have prodded many advanced industrial nations to announce phasing out of nuclear power and shift to renewable energy resources, and on the other hand, emerging economies such as China and India are heavily investing on nuclear energy as a source to power their economic growth. The dichotomy exists in the fact that advanced societies continue to rely on nuclear power amid falling gas prices and grid demands even as emerging economies are facing issues of restrictions on access to nuclear resources and technological limitations, along with public resistance, in their quest for uninhibited exploitation of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Will the massive expansion of nuclear energy sector, especially in the Asian region, drive a global renaissance in the nuclear energy sector? Will the emerging economies overcome the inherent challenges and harness opportunities for the renaissance to take shape? Who will be the key players driving this growth, revival and rejuvenation story, and what are drivers and impediments to its fulfilment? This paper undertakes a reality check of this burgeoning ecosystem and examines whether a nuclear energy renaissance is actually in the offing.


  • Nuclear energy
  • Nuclear renaissance
  • Nuclear risk management
  • Uranium
  • Nuclear fuel cycle
  • Nuclear power in china
  • Indian nuclear energy programme
  • Fukushima
  • Chernobyl
  • Three Mile Island
  • Generation-IV reactor technologies
  • European pressured reactor
  • CPR-1000
  • AP-1000
  • VVER-1200
  • Rosatom
  • AP-1000/1400
  • Westinghouse
  • Hualong 1
  • Areva
  • Gas-cooled and lead-cooled fast reactors
  • Molten salt reactor
  • Fast breeder reactor
  • Convention on supplementary compensation for nuclear damage
  • Civil nuclear liability
  • Price-Anderson Act
  • Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC)
  • The China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC)
  • China Power Investment Corporation (CPIC)
  • Kudankulam
  • Homi Bhabha
  • Three-stage programme

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Fig. 3.1
Fig. 3.2


  1. 1.

    The units under construction include Vogtle 3 and 4 in Georgia and V.C. Summer 2 and 3 in South Carolina.

  2. 2.

    The two reactors that came online were Comanche Peak 2 and Watts Bar Unit 1 along with restarting of the Browns Ferry Unit 1. Further, Watts Bar Unit 2 received license in October 2015.

  3. 3.

    While Kazakhstan plans to operationalise a Russian-built reactor by 2025, the Japanese government is seeking to extract the second site for a Japanese company. Industry observers expect an intense competition between Russian and Japanese companies for this project with both offering financing and technological support.

  4. 4.

    The Convention stipulates at least 5 signatory states with a minimum of 400,000 units of installed nuclear capacity have to deposit their instrument of ratification with the IAEA for it can enter into force. Japan ’s ratification on 15 January 2015 triggered the Convention’s entry into force three months later.

  5. 5.

    Programme for Surveying, Prospecting and Development of Atomic Minerals during the IVth and Vth Plan periods (1969–1978) was released by Department of Atomic Energy .


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Correspondence to A. Vinod Kumar .

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Vinod Kumar, A. (2017). The Expectant Global Nuclear Energy Renaissance: Movers, Shakers and Spoilers. In: Janardhanan, N., Pant, G., Grover, R. (eds) Resurgence of Nuclear Power. Springer, Singapore.

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