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43 more nations planning to have nuclear power plants, association says

May 26, 2009 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Kyodo News International, Tokyo

Forty-three more nations, including some emerging countries, have plans to launch nuclear power programs in addition to the 31 economies that currently have atomic power plants, according to a recent report by the London-based World Nuclear Association.

Nuclear power is drawing renewed attention because it hardly causes any greenhouse gases, while also reducing dependence on crude oil and natural gas, but such proliferation of nuclear power generation could pose challenges in establishing monitoring mechanisms, management of spent nuclear fuel, and nuclear non-proliferation, the group said.

The association, comprising nuclear power-related businesses and research institutes, said plans for nuclear power generation are envisaged by countries in such regions as Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Indonesia, for instance, is planning to start construction of a plant in 2010 and Thailand will follow suit in 2014. The United Arab Emirates is aiming to start operating a plant by 2020.

The association also said that emerging countries are not expected to contribute much to the expansion of nuclear capacity in the foreseeable future as advanced know-how is required for technology development and safe operations.

It said nurturing experts and accumulating technical expertise is an urgent task for emerging countries planning to introduce nuclear power generation.

Nuclear power has been accounting for around 16 percent of global power generation since the 1980s. The association projects nuclear power generation will grow to between 1.14 billion and 3.54 billion kilowatts by 2060 from 367 million kilowatts in 2008.