|Communities around the world are confronting difficult energy choices.
Volatile oil prices are a warning that the era of cheap and abundant transport fuel may be drawing to a close. Universal concern about climate change and the impact of global warming is forcing a re-appraisal of the use of carbon-emitting fossil fuel in the energy generation sector of most economies. Rapid and massive economic growth in China and India, and significant economic reform in Eastern Europe and parts of Latin America are increasing demand for global energy fuels as well as driving up the prices of raw materials and food. In this context it is no surprise that nuclear energy is emerging as the major low cost, reliable, low carbon, large scale energy technology for the 21st century.
During 2011, nuclear power generated 2518 billion kilowatt hours of electricity providing 13 percent of global electricity consumption. Twelve countries derived more than one-third of their total electricity from nuclear power generation, with France depending upon nuclear power for 78% of its total electricity.
Global nuclear generation in 2011 allowed for the avoidance of the following greenhouse gas emissions which would have resulted from the use of fossil fuels to generate an equivalent amount of electricity; coal - 2163 million tonnes CO2; oil - 1773 million tonnes CO2 or natural gas - 1183 million tonnes CO2.