Nuclear power

Fission-based nuclear power has historically been one of the largest contributors of carbon-free electricity globally. Their potential to contribute to power sector decarbonisation is significant.

At the same time, in many jurisdictions nuclear power has trouble competing against other, more economic alternatives, such as natural gas or modern renewables. Concerns over safety and broader public acceptance also remain an obstacle to development.

The WEO New Policies Scenario expects about $1.1 trillion of investment in nuclear power by 2040 leading to an increase of nuclear power production of around 46%. While significant, nuclear’s share of power generation declines to 10 percent, and the increased output is less than half of what is assumed in the Sustainable Development Scenario. Furthermore, growth is quite concentrated, with about 93% of the net production increase accounted for by two countries: China and India.

	Net growth, 2016-2040
China	889
India	239
Rest of World	105
	"title": {
		"text": "Net growth in world nuclear generation, 2016-2040"
	"subtitle": {
		"text": "China and India account for 91% of the increase in nuclear output in the WEO New Policies Scenario"
	"tooltip": {
		"shared": true,
		"valueSuffix": " TWh"
	"chart": {
		"type": "pie",
		"spacingTop": 30,
		"spacingBottom": 30,
		"spacingRight": 20
	"plotOptions": {
		"series": {
			"stacking": "normal"
	"legend": {
		"reversed": "true"

Source: World Energy Outlook 2017

The IEA, in close collaboration with the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, works with countries around the world to analyse the cost of nuclear technologies, the place of nuclear power in competitive electricity markets, and its role in meeting long-term power sector decarbonisation objectives.

The IEA also closely follows research to develop nuclear fusion technology through the IEA’s Fusion Power Co-ordinating Committee (FPCC).

Our work on Nuclear


More >

Events & workshops

Browse all workshops >

Contact us