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Global trend in nuclear power unaffected by Fukushima [ClearOnMoney]
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Global trend in nuclear power unaffected by Fukushima

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Commentary

Global trend in nuclear power unaffected by Fukushima

12 Mar 2012 by Jim Fickett.

Reader Barry Hillman points to an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal:

Sixty nuclear reactors are currently under construction globally, with 163 more on order or planned, according to the World Nuclear Association. That is little changed from the trade group's February 2011 survey—a month before Fukushima—showing 62 reactors under construction and 156 on order or planned.

The numbers belie the perception that the nuclear power industry was stopped in its tracks after the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant following an earthquake and tsunami, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. While Japan and some European nations prepare to shut down or idle their nuclear plants, the march to build reactors continues in developing countries.

“We didn't lose a single order after the Japanese Fukushima accident,” said Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for Rosatom, a state company created to promote Russian nuclear exports. The company says its backlog of international orders rose to 21 plants at the end of 2011, up from 11 a year earlier. …

Stymied at home, Japanese companies are leading the charge overseas. “There's been a severe backlash against nuclear-plant construction in Japan,” Hideaki Omiya, chief executive of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., one of Japan's three nuclear plant manufacturers, said. “But globally, demand for nuclear power is not declining.”

In former Soviet bloc countries in Central and Eastern Europe, nuclear demand is sustained by discomfort with dependence on Russian oil and natural gas. The Lithuanian government says it expects to sign this month a contract with Tokyo-based Hitachi Ltd. to build a new advanced boiling water reactor, an upgraded version of the technology used at Fukushima Daiichi.