Around 30 developing countries are considering the development of nuclear power programmes, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said Monday.
Several of the countries are in Northern African and the Middle East, such as Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
If all countries studying this energy option follow through with their plan, the size of the nuclear power club would double to 60 nations.
"Nuclear power can make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy security, while delivering energy in the large and growing quantities needed for development," Amano said at the opening of the annual meeting of IAEA member states in Vienna.
However, many potential newcomers are still lacking the necessary regulations, authorities and skilled manpower to operate nuclear power plants, the IAEA chief said in a written report to the conference.
Despite the considerable number of interested governments, the IAEA reported that nuclear energy will expand more slowly than previously forecast.
Nuclear power capacity is expected to grow by 1.9 per cent by 2030 under the IAEA's conservative estimate, down from the 2.4-per-cent forecast from last year.
The IAEA's high-growth scenario is estimated at 56 per cent for that period, down from last year's 68 per cent. This scenario is based on the assumptions that more countries opt for nuclear energy to curb greenhouse gases, and that Asia's power demand will keep growing at current rates.
However low prices for gas and renewable energy, a slow global economy and higher safety standards after the Fukushima disaster have been dampening growth, IAEA said.
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