Nuclear Industry is bouncing back after Fukushima

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Nuclear Industry is bouncing back after Fukushima   

Pierre Leblanc, Walter Sebastian and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The nuclear sector is bouncing back from the nuclear crisis that erupted after the tsunami of March 11, 2011, in Japan. Therefore, despite all the negative publicity since the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear crisis began, it appears that the nuclear sector is over the worse because many new plants are in the pipeline. Also, the government of Japan is enhancing the development of the nuclear sector in several nations.

Last year the government of Japan showed its hand along with Japanese companies after intense negotiations with Vietnam. The upshot being that Japan will help Vietnam with its nuclear ambitions. Turkey is also discussing major developments in this field with Japan. This would imply that Japan will “break free” from the “Fukushima debacle” because bureaucrats understand the importance of the nuclear sector and this also applies to national security.

It remains to be seen if Japan will adopt a duel policy whereby Japanese companies expand their projects abroad but cut back at home. Or, it could be that bureaucrats believe that time is on their side and that gradually the nuclear angle will re-emerge in Japan.

Last week in India the government approved the start of the Kudankulam plant and this follows on from President Obama giving the thumbs up to build a new nuclear reactor in America. Also, with hundreds of millions of people in China and India being without electricity then the nuclear angle is viewed to be a viable way to solve this internal energy crisis. Of course, the nuclear angle isn’t the only alternative but according to the Prime Minister of South Korea, Kim Hwang Sik, the costs involved in renewable energy and the restrictions of technology means that the nuclear option is viable because of several important factors.

Many new nations also hope to build their first nuclear reactors and currently you have 61 reactors which are under construction. Therefore, nations like Chile and Egypt want to join the nuclear club. This may be viewed negatively within anti-nuclear circles and by many ordinary citizens who worry about certain aspects of the nuclear sector. However, the nuclear sector is clearly not fading away despite all the images of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear crisis.

The future of the nuclear sector is mainly based on its cost effectiveness but of course major companies like Areva are intent on spending vast resources on new safety mechanisms.  This in turn will enable nuclear power nations like China, India, and the Russian Federation, to focus on expanding this sector. At the same time, new safety mechanisms will be used in the market to persuade a skeptical general public in order to obtain new contracts in non-nuclear power nations.

In an article published on the Bloomberg website which was co-written by Yuriy Humber, Sangim Han and Shinhye Kang, it is stated that “The so-called nuclear renaissance isn’t limited to Asia’s economic growth. Countries including Poland and Turkey say that the risks and costs of rising fossil fuel prices and security of supply make nuclear generation a must for them.”

“Turkey’s disagreement with Russia’s OAO Gazprom (GAZP) over discounts led to the cancellation of a contract for as much as 6 billion cubic meters of annual gas purchases last year. By building two nuclear plants the country can cut its dependence on gas imports from Russia, its biggest fuel provider, and save as much as $7 billion over four years, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Dec. 15.”

“For companies like Kazatomprom, the state nuclear company of Kazakhstan, the world’s largest uranium exporter, that bodes good profits. The company is a shareholder in Toshiba Corp. (6502)’s Westinghouse Electric, which is due to build the first new U.S. reactor in 30 years in Georgia State. Kazatomprom also has ventures with Russia’s Rosatom Corp., which is due to build and run Turkey’s first nuclear plant.”

The United Kingdom last year also confirmed a list of eight new nuclear power stations to be built in the future. All the new plants will be adjacent to existing plants and clearly the nuclear option is deemed essential in the United Kingdom. Therefore, the future of this sector looks bright providing it remains cost effective and new safety mechanisms are implemented.

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