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For economic reasons, USA’s nuclear power may simply disappear

terminal-nuclear-industry current market forces challenge the economic viability of existing nuclear power plants, with new reactors representing an extremely unattractive investment prospect.
 
Allowing existing reactors to simply run out their licensed lifetimes in the current scenario, nuclear power may simply disappear

US May Face Inevitable Nuclear Power Exit Science Daily, Mar. 1, 2013 — In a 2012 report, the Obama administration announced that it was “jumpstarting” the nuclear industry. Because of the industry’s long history of permitting problems, cost overruns, and construction delays, financial markets have been wary of backing new nuclear construction for decades.

The supposed “nuclear renaissance” ballyhooed in the first decade of this century never materialized. And then came Fukushima, a disaster that pushed countries around the world to ask: Should nuclear power be part of the energy future? In the third and final issue in a series focused on nuclear exits, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE, turns its attention to the United States and looks at whether the country’s business-as-usual approach may yet lead to a nuclear phase-out for economic reasons.

The Obama administration injected significant funding into two new nuclear reactor projects in Georgia in 2012. But this investment — the first of its kind in three decades — belies an overall dismal US nuclear power landscape. Where Japan and many European countries responded to the Fukushima disaster with public debate and significant policy shifts in the nuclear arena, the US has scarcely broached the subject.
According to former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Commissioner Peter Bradford, current market forces challenge the economic viability of existing nuclear power plants, with new reactors representing an extremely unattractive investment prospect.
Allowing existing reactors to simply run out their licensed lifetimes in the current scenario, nuclear power may simply disappear, he writes. “Absent an extremely large injection of government funding or further life extensions, the reactors currently operating are going to end their licensed lifetimes between now and the late 2050s,” Bradford concludes. “They will become part of an economics-driven US nuclear phase-out a couple of decades behind the government-led nuclear exit in Germany.”….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130301122927.htm

March 2, 2013 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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