By Nina Chestney
LONDON (Reuters) - Global nuclear power generation capacity could increase by more than 45 percent in the next 20 years but the pace of growth will still fall short of what is needed to curb climate change, an industry organization report showed on Thursday.
The World Nuclear Association Nuclear Fuel report forecasts global nuclear capacity will grow to 552 gigawatts equivalent (GWe) by 2035 from 379 GWe currently, as many countries build new plants as a lower-carbon option and for energy security.
The International Energy Agency has estimated that nuclear capacity needs to reach 660 GWe in 2030 and more than 900 GWe by 2050 to help keep a rise in global temperatures within 2 degrees Celsius this century, a threshold scientists say should avoid the worst effects of climate change.
However, this would require $81 billion a year investment in new nuclear plants from 2014 to 2040.
"Nuclear electricity output is set to increase at a faster rate over the next five years than we have seen for more than two decades," said Agneta Rising, director general of the World Nuclear Association.
"More must be done so that nuclear energy can make the contribution being asked of it, to deliver a clean, affordable and reliable electricity supply in harmony with other low-carbon options," she added.
To meet the pace of capacity growth, the world will likely need 103,000 tonnes of elemental uranium (tU) by 2035, up from 62,000 tU now, the report said.
Uranium production has stalled because depressed uranium prices have curtailed exploration activities and the opening of new mines.
The market should still be adequately supplied to 2025 if all planned mines and those under development start up as forecast but will need additional supplies and projects soon after 2025.
(Editing by Mark Potter)