In and outside the nuclear industry, people believed they would see orders for new nuclear plants and technologies.
That was then and as you surely know the nuclear renaissance did not happen because on March 11, 2011, the nuclear industry was derailed when disaster struck Japan.
First came the massive earthquakes, followed by tsunamis and gigantic loss of life. The tsunamis led to four nuclear reactors melting down, followed by prolonger, Japanwide energy crisis and extended economic recession.
Images of exploding reactors in Japan caused people all across the world to wave the “halt” flag on nuclear power. People had to figure out what happened and reassess the risks.
Over a year later, it is fair to ask about the status of the nuclear sector. Is there hope? Will things turn around?
The short answer is that things are looking up for nuclear power.
Despite the 2011 Japan disaster, it looks as if nuclear power is reawakening. Recently there was a major conference at the University of Pittsburgh that brought together key political, industry, and regulatory nuclear players and they offered a very upbeat assessment of nuclear power.
The number 1 hurdle for advancing nuclear power in the U.S., and across the world, is waste storage.
Many think the number 1 hurdle is meltdowns however they are accidents that are not supposed to happen. If engineers design the plants correctly and operators run and maintain the plants right, you will not have meltdowns. In the big scheme of things, ongoing operational safety is quite doable.
So dealing with nuclear waste is the key question for forward.
Overall, the U.S. nuclear industry generates about 2,000 tons of new nuclear waste each year.
In terms of volume, it could fit inside of a couple of railway cars.
Overall weight of nuclear waste since the mid 1940s is about 68,000 tons or about 2/3 the weight of one decommissioned aircraft carrier; and there are four tied to a pier right now (circa May 2012) at the Pugent Sound Naval Shipyard.
An underground waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, developed over 25 years at a cost of $10B was never put into operation by the Obama administration due to environmental opposition.
However, at the recent conference in Pittsburgh mentioned previously, an upbeat presentation was made by one member of President Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. According to the commission, and blessed by Obama’s Nobel Prize winning secretary of energy, Steven Chu, the storing and treating of high-level nuclear waste is a manageable and doable task.
Looking over the landscape, it appears that the politics of nuclear power are setup for eventual success. The future of nuclear power is doable.
The entire work product from Obama’s Commission is available on the Interent at www dot brc dot gov and the key take-away is the nuclear waste is manageable.
I trust this post has provided some background and evidence that now is a good time to benefit from the reawakening of nuclear power.
It is wise to monitor breakthrough technology as there are truly exciting developments underway as part of the reawakening of nuclear power and related business activities. I will continue to monitor developments and provide updates in future articles and at my blog.
Finally, I want to thank Byron King of Outstanding Investments, published by Agora Financial, as he was the source of some of the materials about the technology advancements mentioned in this post.
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