Posted by: doug308 | June 30, 2011

The Politics of Power Generation

In the wake of the damage to the Fukashima nuclear plants in Japan, countries worldwide have made statements regarding shutting down or curtailing further development of nuclear power (most notably Germany and Italy) and instead focusing on replacing this capacity with other renewable forms of energy like solar, wind, wave, and etc. However, is it a coincidence that at the same time France has just annouced that it will invest the equivilent of a billion US dollars into their own nuclear power programs? Probably not, and for a number of reasons. For example while it makes a strong political statement within German borders to say that they will drop the use of nuclear power, the truth of the matter is that abot 1/5 of their power comes from nukes which has to be made up somehow by their drop dead date of 2022. Well, guess who they buy power from? You guessed it, France. And even though the whole “let’s use renewables” thing sounds good in Europe, in Asia and the Middle East there is still a very lucrative market for nuclear power. Even the Japanese are quietly indicating they will rebuild their nuclear program once they have the current mess cleaned up.

So folks, while disasters like Fukashima make lots of headlines on the world stage and cause polticians to make all sorts of “we’re not going to allow that to happen here” statements, don’t count nukes out yet. The reality is that nukes and even coal are going to continue to be the big power producers until there’s a viable industrial strength alternative.

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