20-plus countries pledge to triple the world’s nuclear energy by 2050

More than 20 countries including the U.S., France, Japan and the United Kingdom have pledged to triple global nuclear energy generation by 2050 at the launch of COP28 …

Today’s global fleet of approximately 440 nuclear reactors has a combined capacity of around 400 gigawatts — enough that nuclear energy provides about 10 percent of the world’s power. But less than a paltry 4 gigawatts of nuclear energy has been connected to the grid in 2023. The global solar industry is forecast to install more than 400 gigawatts of capacity in 2023 alone.

The goal of tripling the world’s nuclear output would require deploying an average of 40 gigawatts of nuclear power every year through 2050, according to the World Nuclear Association. (My back-of-the-envelope calculations point to an even higher number if replacing existing aged-out equipment is included in the mix.)


Ironically absent from the pool of signees is China, the only country with any real chance of meeting the COP goal. China aims to double its nuclear energy capacity by 2035 and is well on its way; as of this year, 22 nuclear plants are under construction in China with more than 70 planned.

But while the U.S. saw its first newly built nuclear reactor in decades reach commercial operation this year in Vogtle 3 and could see Vogtle 4 go online next year, you’d be hard-pressed to find an American nuclear expert willing to predict when the next reactor will be up and running.

Where are all the pro-nukes? Is the US going to triple its nuclear capacity by 2050?

U.S. utility-scale electricity generation by source, amount, and share of total in 20221
Data as of October 2023

Energy source Billion kWh Share of total
Total - all sources 4,231
Fossil fuels (total) 2,553 60.4%
Natural gas 1,687 39.9%
Coal 832 19.7%
Petroleum (total) 23 0.5%
Petroleum liquids 16 0.4%
Petroleum coke 7 0.2%
Other gases3 12 0.3%
Nuclear 772 18.2%
Renewables (total) 901 21.3%
Wind 434 10.3%
Hydropower 255 6.0%
Solar (total) 144 3.4%
Photovoltaic 141 3.3%
Solar thermal 3 0.1%
Biomass (total) 52 1.2%
Wood 35 0.8%
Landfill gas 9 0.2%
Municipal solid waste (biogenic) 6 0.1%
Other biomass waste 2 <0.1%
Geothermal 16 0.4%
Pumped storage hydropower 4 -6 -0.1%
Other sources 5 11 0.3%
1 Utility-scale electricity generation is electricity generation from power plants with at least one megawatt (or 1,000 kilowatts) of total electricity generating capacity. Data are for net electricity generation.
2 Small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are electricity generators with less than one megawatt (MW) of electricity generating capacity, which are not connected at a power plant that has a combined capacity of one MW or larger. Most small-scale PV systems are at or near the location where the electricity is consumed and many are net metered systems. Smaller PV systems are usually installed on building rooftops.
3 Other gases includes blast furnace gas and other manufactured and waste gases derived from fossil fuels.
4 Pumped storage hydroelectricity generation is negative because most pumped storage electricity generation facilities use more electricity than they produce on an annual basis. Most pumped storage systems use fossil fuels or nuclear energy for pumping water to the storage component of the system.
5 Other (utility-scale) sources includes non-biogenic municipal solid waste, batteries, hydrogen, purchased steam, sulfur, tire-derived fuel, and other miscellaneous energy sources.
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It is pretty embarrassing that it took them this long to figure it out.


Understandable. Nukes are expensive, and the NIMBYs don’t want them. It hasn’t helped that the USian for-profit utilities that have run them over the years have not covered themselves with glory, but keep trying to cut corners in training and maintenance.


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It is embarrassing, but for different reasons. This goal isn’t even remotely achievable.

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Pledging is one thing, putting action where your mouth is, is another. The Greens and the Fossils will do all they can to derail it. All it takes is enough red tape to keep the Mother Gaia safe from real, imagined, and NIMBY dangers. Doesn’t it take ten years to get a mining permit?

The Captain


The Fossils don’t have to do anything to derail it because it was their idea in the first place. It is a pie-in-the-sky fantasy to distract from the real problems.

In the meantime, the thing that would actually make a difference is off the table–thanks to the Fossils.


They do not really mean it because they do not have all that money to accomplish the pledge.

The Fossils are way ahead of…

'The Captain

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