Marketwatch takes a look at the resurgence of nuclear energy in Europe and elsewhere. Here’s the gist of it:
Overall, the NEA, a division of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, has forecast the number of reactors worldwide growing to between 600 and 1,400 by 2050, from 430 today. That represents necessary investment of between $680 billion and $3.9 trillion, at roughly $4 billion per reactor.
That’s a lot of economic activity. When one talks about the cost of building an energy plant, it’s easy to forget how many people and how many allied industries benefit from the project.
The article has little in it you haven’t seen before, though we like writer Aude Lagorce’s taste for tidbits:
Several European countries are currently building reactors, including Hungary, Finland and Poland. Others are proposing legislation to extend the lifespan of current reactors (Germany) or selecting sites for new reactors (U.K.).
Do read and email it to your nuclear reluctant friends. It’s a great primer.
Marketwatch seems to be on a roll, as Myra Saefong takes a similar look at Asia and finds – much the same result.
Exploding populations and rapid industrial growth combined with competition for dwindling oil and gas supplies have put energy at the top of government agendas in the region. And while countries are pushing hard to maximize their oil, gas and coal supplies, regional leaders understand that nuclear is likely to be an essential part of the mix when it comes to meeting their future energy needs.
Yes, quite likely indeed. Interestingly, Asian nuclear advocates see their European and American counterparts as sorely lagging.
The rapid expansion in Asia stands in contrast to slower growth in Europe and the U.S. Viewed from Asia, the Western countries "appear to underestimate the importance of this sector and have been following a policy of disengagement in, or even outright phasing out of nuclear energy," he [Martin Hennecke, an associate director at Tyche Group Ltd. in Hong Kong] said.
We don’t think Hennecke is right, but we’ll give it to him if he keeps saying things like this:
"The Asian nuclear-power industry is on a very rapid expansionary course and ... will develop into a hugely significant market over the next decades -- most likely of an importance far beyond the much less efficient, more expensive yet much more hyped other alternative energies of solar, wind, ethanol or biomass."
It may be a bit like a pinwheel of optimism, but we encourage Hennecke to keep it up.
On the other hand, maybe Hennecke has some viable evidence on his side. We found this article by longtime Nuclear Notes friend Rod Adams about China’s nuclear ambitions very interesting in this regard:
Just a few years ago, the goal in China was to increase nuclear plant capacity from about 9 GWe to 40 GWe by 2020. The current plan will achieve that goal within the next five years and could hit a number closer to 80-120 GWe by 2020. The reactor construction and manufacturing enterprise will not suddenly stop at that level. As the construction continues, China could be operating 300-400 GWe of nuclear plant capacity by 2030. If history is any guide, that capacity should be operating at a capacity factor of 75-90%, displacing a tremendous quantity of fossil fuel consumption.
We’re not sure history is any guide here, but if China genuinely brings this to pass, the choking pollution found there during the 2008 Summer Olympics will become a thing of the past and worries about China and its carbon emissions will likewise fade away. Now that’s a pinwheel of optimism we’re not willing to set atwirl just yet, but dreaming big if one must dream should never be discouraged.
Building an Olympic stadium in a thick haze of smog.