Does the U.S. nuclear industry have a future? (Mark Hibbs, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)18.Aug.2017
Mark Hibbs, Senior Fellow, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: That America’s nuclear power plant construction industry is stagnating or even in decline is not news. Nuclear vendor firms in the United States currently fare no better than their counterparts in most countries with established nuclear power programs. But the pending bankruptcy of Westinghouse, announced five months ago, could have far-reaching strategic impact on U.S. exports and on the economic viability, safety, and security of nuclear power installations in the United States and beyond.
Cheryl Rofer, Nuclear Diner: Two South Carolina utilities are abandoning two unfinished nuclear reactors, half of the new reactors being built in the United States today. A decision on the other two will be made later this month. Congratulations for contributing to this failure to: 1) The contractors who cannot build nuclear plants on time and within budget. 2) The utilities that cannot contract or manage the building of nuclear plants. 3) The financiers who have botched their judgments of the projects. 4) Proponents of nuclear power. 5) Opponents of nuclear power. 6) The Department of Energy and its predecessors. 7) Congress and the White House.
Dan Yurman, with links to similar important articles by Cheryl Rofer and Mark Hibbs: There is a strong likelihood that future plans by U.S. electric utilities to build full size nuclear reactors are now being put on indefinite hold. The reasons are already well known. Record low prices for natural gas are likely to persist for decades. The regulatory barriers to building new natural gas plants are surmounted with ease compared to gaining approval for a new reactor. In the middle of this glum outlook comes Mark Hibbs, a world class expert on the nuclear energy field, who is currently associated with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In a new report about whether the nuclear energy industry has a future, he offers a qualified “maybe.”
David Cherry and Ramasimong Phillip Tsokolibane: South African President Jacob Zuma and his cabinet are now determined to build new nuclear power plants to generate an additional 9600 megawatts (9.6 gigawatts) of electric power. South Africa currently has the only nuclear power plant on the African continent—at Koeberg, 20 miles north of Cape Town—which provides 1800 MW, or about 5% of the country’s power. It was commissioned in 1984. The decision to build more nuclear power plants is historic, both for South Africa and Africa as a whole, because nuclear power is the indispensable successor to fossil fuels. It is no coincidence that it comes at the moment of the founding of the New Development Bank by the BRICS nations—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. (All of the BRICS nations have nuclear power, and all are building more.)