Home > Uncategorized > Back to the drawing board for Nuclear Renaissance?

Back to the drawing board for Nuclear Renaissance?

If Japan is unable to safely shut down the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant, you should have no doubt that the recent Nuclear Renaissance will be significantly derailed…for a long time.

Improvements in nuclear reactor safety, and the public’s waning memory of past nuclear accidents (Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986), as well as of the plant construction cost overruns of the 1970s and 80s, are lowering public resistance to new nuclear construction.[114]

Of all the factors that led to the Nuclear Renaissance, I think the most difficult to overcome was public’s resistance to past nuclear accidents… if we don’t avoid the core meltdown at Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant, then the nuclear opponents may have a strong argument.

However, opponents of nuclear power and the general public need to understand that no nuclear design/technology or for that matter any system or design cannot be nature-proofed… it can only be resistant to minimize the impact/loss.

To the contrary, I think Japan is proof that nuclear design and technology is relatively safe to natural events. As a reminder:

Japan has the highest and most frequent high magnitude earthquakes, due to its geographic location.

There have been no civilian nuclear accidents in Japan’s 45 years of nuclear power generation given that Japan has 55 nuclear reactors (3rd highest) which generate 29% of its electricity. (Source)

The Sendai earthquake on 11-Mar-2011 is the 6th largest earthquake ever recorded!

Some nuclear accident facts:

· 99 nuclear accidents between 1952 and 2009 (Full list at Wikipedia)

· 56 of these were in United States

Best luck to the Japanese to safely shut down the nuclear reactor!

Update: What I feared is happening:

The US [and Taiwanese] nuclear industry is now on hold.  (NYTimes, FT Alphaville, beyondbrics) via Abnormal Returns

 

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