Chapter 3 examines the state of deployment of nuclear power. It does so in the context of a review of the wider energy situation and some economic/commercial/political drivers that are relevant to our analysis. Ever since the 1950s nuclear power has been promoted as a technology that will deliver affordable and necessary power in the near term and more recently that electricity that is produced by nuclear power also has very low carbon emissions associated with its production.

However, the industry has failed to become a dominant source of electricity globally; in fact its percentage contribution is diminishing year on year. This trend is likely to accelerate in the coming decades as the majority of operating reactors were built in and before the 1980s, and so will begin to be decommissioned.

As the cost of renewable energy continues to fall and it is increasingly recognised as lower than nuclear, so new build becomes less attractive for countries that have both and especially those that don’t have nuclear power. Therefore, outside of those countries that have deep-rooted security, geopolitical or technological historic support, nuclear will at best make a marginal contribution to the future of the global power industry.