[ RadSafe ] Nuclear Revival Hits Another Pothole. 16 Feb 2017 by Steven Hayward

Maury maurysis at peoplepc.com
Thu Feb 16 19:43:53 CST 2017

*This strikes me as a really sad state of nuclear affairs.  To you who 
are professionals in the field, is this as bad as it looks?
Maury&Dog [MaurySiskel maurysis at peoplepc.com]
Nuclear Revival Hits Another Pothole**
**Posted: 16 Feb 2017 12:59 PM PST**
**(Steven Hayward)**
**Japan’s electronics giant Toshiba is on the verge of bankruptcy, and 
the Financial Times is reporting that this is attributable to Toshiba’s 
decision to go big into a revival of nuclear power through its 
acquisition of Westinghouse:**
**    In a humiliating setback for a conglomerate that had only recently 
touted its nuclear business as a core growth driver, Toshiba said it 
would pull out of constructing new plants overseas and focus on 
providing less lucrative but lower-risk reactor designs and nuclear 
equipment.  One investor says the potential downsizing of Toshiba’s 
nuclear ambitions could make what remains of the company difficult “even 
for a contrarian investor to consider.”**
**    It is also a damaging blow to the outlook for the nuclear industry 
worldwide. Toshiba’s decision to give up on bidding to be a lead 
contractor on nuclear power plant projects will dramatically reduce its 
ability to compete with rivals from China, South Korea and Russia, and 
limit the options for countries seeking to build reactors. . .**
**    Toshiba bought the US-based Westinghouse nuclear business from the 
British government’s BNFL for $5.4bn in 2006, in the hope of profiting 
from an upturn in reactor construction that was optimistically dubbed 
the “nuclear renaissance”. Instead, the Westinghouse deal has brought 
Toshiba to its knees.**
**    Toshiba isn’t alone:**
**    As Toshiba was reporting its huge writedown, the French utility 
EDF, which has also been beset by problems with its new-build nuclear 
projects, warned of a “challenging” 2017 after being hit by weak power 
prices and problems with some existing reactors last year.**
**What does it all mean? Is nuclear power still not ready for prime 
time? Michael Shellenberger, one of the rare pro-nuke advocates among 
environmentalists, breaks it down for us over at his terrific site 
Environmental Progress:**
**    Nuclear energy is, simply, in a rapidly accelerating crisis:**
**        Demand for nuclear energy globally is low, and the new 
reactors being built may not keep up with the closure of nuclear plants 
around the world. Half of all U.S. nuclear plants are at risk of closure 
over the next 13 years.**
**        Japan has only opened two of its 42 shuttered nuclear 
reactors, six years after Fukushima. Most experts estimated it would 
have two-thirds open by now. The reason is simple: low public acceptance.**
**        While some still see India as a sure-thing for nuclear, the 
nation has not resolved key obstacles to building new plants, and is 
likely to add just 16 GW of nuclear by 2030, not the 63 GW that was 
**        Vietnam had worked patiently for 20 years to build public 
support for a major nuclear build-out before abruptly scrapping those 
plans in response to rising public fears and costs last year. Vietnam 
now intends to build coal plants.**
**        Last month Entergy, a major nuclear operator, announced it was 
getting out of the nuclear generation business in states where 
electricity has been de-regulated, including New York where it operates 
the highly lucrative Indian Point.**
**    With the French nuclear industry crippled and Toshiba-Westinghouse 
out of the nuclear construction business, the West is effectively ceding 
the future of nuclear energy to China, Korea and Russia.**
**From here Michael gives a synoptic history of the difficulties nuclear 
power has faced from atrophied engineering experience 
to—especially—over-regulation. Worth reading the whole thing. But for 
now the nuclear picture looks bleak.**

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