Hubbert predicted exponential growth of nuclear power generation

Hubbert of “Peak Oil” fame in his famous paper advocated nuclear power as a long term replacement for oil and coal. In fact, the actual title of the paper is “Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels“.   In this paper he predicted exponential growth in nuclear power production.  The 1956 paper is as much an advocacy for nuclear power as it is an analysis of  oil production projections.

This begs the question “If Hubbert was a prophet of doom regarding oil; why not a prophet of energy salvation regarding nuclear power?”

Put another way, Hubbert is lionized for a prediction that turned out to be correct so far regarding oil; while his prediction that was wrong concerning nuclear power is conveniently ignored.

It seems that a lot of the discussion out there regarding how visionary Hubbert was regarding oil intentionally ignores Hubbert’s thinking regarding nuclear power.

Here is a chart of global nuclear power generation capacity:

The stagnation of capacity has been largely due to safety concerns and the relatively lower cost of other energy sources.


  1. […] intends to build a number of nuclear power plants to eliminate power shortages. Very little concern about proliferation issues has been voiced by […]

  2. […] seems both countries will be focusing on intense development of nuclear power generating capacity. It is a logical policy for any country lacking large amounts of fossil fuel […]

  3. […] “China is scaling up its nuclear power plans in a big way. Its goal is to build 70 gigawatts worth of nuclear capacity by 2020 — 50 percent higher than its 2020 target was five years ago. It looks like uranium, still unpopular in the U.S. is finding big fans in Asia. Achieving this goal will cost the country as much as $59 billion for 28 more reactors — 20 of which are already in the process of being built. As of this year, China is home for one-third of the world’s nuclear power construction… […]

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