Thursday, March 31, 2011

Real expense of nuclear power apparent at Fukushima

Resurgence was brewing for nuclear power, however the Fukushima disaster might have nipped it in the bud. However, the darker side of nuclear energy has been exposed by Japan’s struggle to contain radiation from the reactor damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. Measures to protect nuclear reactors from earthquakes in the future might be so costly that investors will think twice before believing that an investment in nuclear energy could be profitable. Article resource – Fukushima disaster lays bare the true cost of nuclear power by MoneyBlogNewz.

Getting nuclear power paid for

About 62 percent of the public was interested in nuclear power in a Gallup poll in 2010. This was because of the idea of nuclear power as a clean, reliable energy source. The Obama administration announced plans to provide $54.2 billion in loan guarantees for the construction of nuclear power plants. But even prior to the Fukushima disaster, it was doubtful that new nuclear reactors would be under construction in the U.S. anytime soon, according to Mark Cooper of the Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment. Cooper gave a presentation at the House of Commons in Ottawa, Canada, where he said there was a United States nuclear industry bubble that was not going to last soon. The bubble began to inflate in 2001 when the Bush administration started heavily promoting nuclear energy with billions in loan guarantees. The nuclear industry was not doing as well as anticipated by 2008. Natural gas became a cheap option while the recession began. The othe! r clean energy possibilities helped bring it down as well.

Nuclear power starting to cost more

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, building new reactors could become even more cost prohibitive. Cooper's research shows that there was a 95 percent increase in construction costs after the Pennsylvania Three Mile Island accident in 1979. Every person had to pay 40 percent more in electricity because of this. Construction costs went up 89 percent causing electricity to rise 42 percent in 1986 after the Ukraine Chernobyl disaster. The price of construction goes up quite a bit after accidents occur for nuclear reactors. This is as the safety needs to be addressed causing a design change. Due to the Fukushima incident, the United States already has the Nuclear Regulatory Commission together to start figuring out what changed have to be made.

Investors cannot risk it

Clean energy alternatives, like wind, solar and natural gas, are looking like something more investors are willing to invest in over nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster. The nuclear plant risk is one utility might pass on as well. Sometimes you do not want to pay much for energy. If this is the only consideration, nuclear energy makes the most sense. The cost to clean up a nuclear accident aside, it is cheaper to do most other options. Onshore wind farms are 35 percent cheaper than nuclear power plant building. The world can get electrical power from several alternative sources. The nuclear power costs to the economy are avoided with them. For savvy investors, clean energy alternatives promise more profitable opportunities.



Fast Company

The National

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