Project Management

The Next Atomic Age: The New Wave of Nuclear Power Plant Projects

Matt Alderton

It's been five years since tsunami waves triggered a meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant. After radiation leaks forced 300,000 residents to evacuate their homes, the country chose to shutter all 43 of its nuclear reactors indefinitely—sparking a global debate over the future of nuclear power.

When the government began restarting reactors in August, it became clear the debate was far from over. Demonstrators were quick to swarm each site, protesting the reactors’ perceived health and safety risks.

Yet despite its tepid public reception, many governments see nuclear energy as an important source of emission-free power. From China and India to France and the U.K., countries are investing in new nuclear construction to help reduce their reliance on carbon-based fuels. With 67 new nuclear reactors under construction in 15 countries, global nuclear capacity is expected to more than double by 2030, according to the International Atomic Energy Association. And by 2040, the number of countries that have at least one nuclear plant is predicted to increase from 30 to 36, according to the 2015 World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

This sudden rush poses a problem for nuclear project managers, as the talent pool and supplier base struggle to keep up. Many of the businesses and specialists that supported the first wave of nuclear construction …

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