Japan earthquake: Impact on US nuclear energy future?

This piece on the BBC website kind of says it all.

John Rowe, the CEO of America’s largest nuclear producer Exelon, has said his firm is reluctant to invest in new nuclear plants because they are increasingly cost prohibitive when compared to natural gas, which is relatively cheap.

“The nuclear industry was in trouble in the US long before last week’s earthquake and tsunami,” said Ellen Vancko of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Spiralling construction cost estimates, declining energy demand, low natural gas costs and the failure to put a price on carbon already spelled trouble for this industry.”

Mr Cochran of the NRDC says that by his estimate, over the years 130 proposed nuclear plants have been cancelled at some point during the planning, licensing and construction process. That’s more than the total number of plants that have ever been built in the US.

It doesn’t bode well for the future of new plants, particularly now that increased attention will be paid to nuclear safety, perhaps adding new hurdles for proposed plants.

No additional comment is really necessary. Nuclear is not an option for electric power. To many dangerous and complex hurdles to overcome.


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