Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Nuclear renaissance? Failing industry is running flat out to stand still - The Ecologist

Despite the endless rhetoric about a 'nuclear renaissance', there are fewer power reactors today than there were a decade ago, writes Jim Green. The one country with a really big nuclear build program is China, but no one expects it to meet its targets. And with over 200 reactor shut-downs due by 2040, the industry will have to run very hard indeed just to stay put.

Over the next 10-20 years, global nuclear capacity may increase marginally, with strong growth in China more than masking patterns of stagnation and decline elsewhere. Beyond that, the aging of the global fleet of power reactors will be sharply felt.
Ten new power reactors began supplying electricity last year (eight of them in China), and eight reactors were permanently shut down.
Nuclear power's 20-year pattern of stagnation continues. In 1995 there were 434 'operable' reactors - operating plus temporarily shut down reactors. In 2005 there were 441, and now there are 439.
Thus there are fewer reactors today than there were a decade ago. Moreover the 439 figure includes 41 reactors in Japan that have been shut down for several years, and not all of them will be restarted.
The nuclear power industry's malaise was all too evident at the COP21 UN climate change conference in Paris in December. Former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd noted:
"It was entirely predictable that the nuclear industry achieved precisely nothing at the recent Paris COP21 talks and in the subsequent international agreement. ... 
"Analysis of the submissions of the 196 governments that signed up to the Paris agreement, demonstrating their own individual schemes on how to reduce national carbon emissions, show that nearly all of them exclude nuclear power. 
"The future is likely to repeat the experience of 2015 when 10 new reactors came into operation worldwide but 8 shut down. So as things stand, the industry is essentially running to stand still."
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, only seven out of 196 countries mentioned nuclear power in their climate change mitigation plans prepared for the COP21 conference: China, India, Japan, Argentina, Turkey, Jordan and Niger.

Now it's getting nasty...

more: Nuclear renaissance? Failing industry is running flat out to stand still - The Ecologist

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