Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium lead the flight from nuclear power
Nuclear best friends turn cold shoulder after Fukushima Business Recorder, 14 September 2012 LONDON: Nuclear industry was dealt a big blow on Friday when two of the most nuclear-friendly countries decided to exit or sharply curb their reliance on the technology following a public opinion backlash after the Fukushima accident in Japan last year.
Japan, which produced more than 10 percent of the global nuclear power before Fukushima, joins Germany, Switzerland and Belgium in deciding to shut down their nuclear plants and to spend money on renewable energy instead.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced on Friday his country
would pull out of nuclear power by the 2030s and triple the share of
renewable sources to 30 percent of its energy mix.
“If you were looking at investing in an energy source at the moment,
why would you invest in nuclear when you’ve just seen two major
countries turning off their plants?” said Richard George, energy
campaigner at Greenpeace.
Japan’s exit and France’s renewed pledge to reduce nuclear power to 50
percent of its electricity capacity by 2025 sends an anti-nuclear
message to countries which have been undecided about what stance to
take on the technology……
The growing anti-nuclear feeling is likely to further dent the order
books of the world’s major nuclear power players, such as France’s
Areva or Westinghouse, majority-owned by Japan’s Toshiba, with
forecasts for new nuclear capacity already projected to fall by 12
percent by 2020.
At a major nuclear energy conference in London this week, which was
scarcely attended by German companies, executives said the sector
needed to redefine itself and regain the public’s trust.
“I am scared by the decisions in Japan and France because these are
short-term visions influenced by public pressure,” said Francois
Perchet, technical adviser at the World Nuclear University and
formerly employed at France’s EDF.
“These people will be judged in 2080 for acting in their own interest
instead of that of the planet.” Other analysts say that Japan and
France are well placed to deal with the results of their decisions.
“Regulators (in Japan and France) are not being irresponsible because
with gas generation there is a credible alternative,” Luis Uriza, of
consultancy Bain & Company said.
“Japan is already one of the world’s biggest gas importers and is
experienced in the market, and France has many options, including
imports from the North Sea, Russia, Africa and the Middle East or even
to develop its own large shale gas reserves.”
Uriza said export capacity improvements in the global gas sector made
the political moves in Japan, France and Germany possible.
“The gas industry made a lot of progress in terms of new export
capacities in the past years, so this is good news for new producers
in Australia, North America, the Middle East and East Africa,” he
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