Today sees the publication of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

As a long-term and very engaged participant in the nuclear debate, I’ve absorbed each WNISR with careful attention – and huge admiration. The quality of the research and the level of detail is astonishing, and because the same datasets are being updated on an annual basis, it provides the definitive snapshot of an industry that still does its best to keep as much as it possibly can either hidden or deliberately opaque. As someone who needs the facts in the work I do, I couldn’t do without the Report.

So I was more than a little delighted when the authors asked me to write the Foreword to this year’s Report – which I have chosen to focus on the whole question of innovation and the relative pace of change within the nuclear industry (lethargic if not glacial, with little if any genuinely transformative developments over 50 years) and within the world of renewables, efficiency and storage (dynamic, fast-moving and subject to a constant ‘churn rate’ that investors are increasingly excited by).  Foreword to WNISR 2015

The Report itself not only provides a detailed country-by-country analysis of the status of the nuclear industry, but provides insightful updates on different reactor technologies (including some of the latest ‘posterchild’ favourites such as Small Modular Reactors), and includes a powerful report on the continuing aftershocks of the disaster at Fukushima in March 2011.

This is an industry that still has massive institutional and lobbying firepower at its disposal, with a vast amount of money to spend persuading politicians, potential investors, commentators and a few gullible greenies that they still have the answers to today’s big questions about energy security, affordability and the need for a dramatic decarbonisation of the entire global economy. But however much money is deployed in pursuit of those propagandistic purposes, the alternative reality on the ground is beginning to look very different. And the nuclear industry is beginning to look increasingly irrelevant.