Sunday, February 07, 2010
Nuclear Power Industry on the Ropes
With money disappearing faster than fresh humans at a vampire party, there is less money for everything (except weapons, of course). And considering the challenging problems of nuclear power, not least among them gross cost overruns, one should not be surprised to hear about the “Dim outlook for nuke industry.” Consider this:
A coming “nuclear renaissance” is often cited by government and industry officials as reason to keep investing in Canada’s nuclear-power sector. Without support, they say, the country risks being sidelined in a market poised for massive expansion.Now that’s some really depressing news for nuclear power groupies. Not only is there no “nuclear renaissance” in the offing, the nuclear power industry is not even holding its own, and nukes are producing a significantly lower percentage of the world’s electric power. Because the industrial system itself is on the wane, and because nuclear power is such a large-scale, energy- and capital-intensive industry, there is zero possibility of a “massive expansion.” Governments are cash-strapped and burdened with crushing debt, and fossil fuel net energy is declining. As a result, sufficient funding and energy for a “massive expansion” will never be found on Planet Earth. Of course a few more nukes might be built, but that effort will be the dying gasp of the industry.
But that growth, according to an independent report released Thursday, simply isn’t happening. After 10 years of industry cheerleading, the world’s fleet of nuclear reactors has become smaller.
“There has been, in fact, a decline in the contribution of nuclear power to the world electricity production, from 16.7 per cent in 2000 to 13.5 per cent in 2008,” said the report, the result of a three-year study by the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Ottawa.