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New Worldwatch Institute Report, Timed in Conjunction with Chernobyl Anniversary, Shows Nuclear Industry Was in Decline Even Before Fukushima Washington, D.C.—Even before the disaster in Fukushima, the world’s nuclear industry was in clear decline, according to a new report from the Worldwatch Institute. The report, which Worldwatch commissioned months before the Fukushima crisis began, paints a bleak picture of an aging industry unable to keep pace with its renewable energy competitors.
To download a free copy of this report, click here.
“The industry was arguably on life support before Fukushima. When the history of the nuclear industry is written, Fukushima is likely to begin its final chapter,” said Mycle Schneider, lead author of the new report, The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2010-2011: Nuclear Power in a Post-Fukushima World, and an international consultant on energy and nuclear policy.
Some of the report’s key findings include:
- Annual renewable capacity additions have been outpacing nuclear start-ups for 15 years. In the United States, the share of renewables in new capacity additions skyrocketed from 2 percent in 2004 to 55 percent in 2009, with no new nuclear capacity added.
- In 2010, for the first time, worldwide cumulative installed capacity from wind turbines, biomass, waste-to-energy, and solar power surpassed installed nuclear capacity. Meanwhile, total investment in renewable energy technologies was estimated at $243 billion in 2010.
- As of April 1, 2011, there were 437 nuclear reactors operating in the world, seven fewer than in 2002. In 2008, for the first time since the beginning of the nuclear age, no new unit was started up. Seven new reactors were added in 2009 and 2010, while 11 were shut down during this period.
- In 2009, nuclear power plants generated 2,558 Terawatt-hours of electricity, about 2 percent less than the previous year. The industry’s lobby organization headlined “another drop in nuclear generation”—the fourth year in a row.
Despite predictions in the United States and elsewhere of a nuclear “renaissance,” the report concludes that the role of nuclear power was in steady decline even before the Fukushima crisis. The disaster will make the construction of new nuclear plants and extensions to the lifetime of current plants even more unrealistic.
“U.S. news headlines often suggest that a nuclear renaissance is under way,” said Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin. “This was a big overstatement even before March 11, and the disaster in Japan will inevitably cause governments and companies that were considering new nuclear units to reassess their plans. The Three Mile Island accident caused a wholesale reassessment of nuclear safety regulations, massively increased the cost of nuclear power, and put an end to nuclear construction in the United States. For the global nuclear industry, the Fukushima disaster is an historic—if not fatal—setback.”
Nuclear plant emergency generators like those that failed in Japan following the March earthquake and tsunami also failed during tests at the Seabrook Station in New Hampshire and 32 other US plants in the past eight years, according to a report by US Representative Edward J. Markey’s office.
“An examination of NRC regulations demonstrates that flawed assumptions and under-estimation of safety risks are currently an inherent part of the NRC regulatory program, due to a long history of decisions made by prior Commissions or by the NRC staff that have all too often acquiesced to industry requests for a weakening of safety standards,’’ the report said.
TOKYO, May 13 (AP) - (Kyodo)
A highly radioactive substance was detected in incinerator ashes at a sewage plant in eastern Tokyo in late March, shortly after the start of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, metropolitan government sources said Friday.
The radioactive density of the substance reached 170,000 becquerels per kilogram, the sources said.
The ashes, which have already been recycled as construction materials, including cement, were collected from a sludge plant in Koto Ward.
Almost at the same time in late March, a radioactive substance of 100,000-140,000 becquerels per kg was also detected in ashes at two other sewage plants in Ota and Itabashi wards, the sources said.
...Meanwhile, the municipal government of Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, said Friday it has detected radioactive cesium of 41,000 becquerels per kg from incinerator ashes collected Monday
Originally posted by whatisanameanyway
Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds has posted an update now, May 13th. I was beginning to be a little worried that maybe he had been pressured to shut up with no update since the 6th, so it's very good to see he's still coming out and calling it at it is.
(Why no vid:vimeo button?)
Bit of a "told you so" tone in places, and rightly so.
He covers the major events of this week, from TEPCO's belated admission of meltdown, through the "smoke" that has been showing up on the webcam.
He gives a good rundown on the obvious problems with the water volumes going into the reactors, and obvious scale of the leaks, and the fact that there is still activity generating iodine at the very least.
EDIT : Gah. Beaten while I was writing. Nice work whoswho69!edit on 13-5-2011 by whatisanameanyway because: (no reason given)
IAEA status updates on the Fukushima accident will be posted on the public website on a weekly basis. The IAEA continues to monitor the situation in and around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant around the clock and is in close contact with Japanese authorities on stabilisation measures. As we have reported, overall the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains very serious.
latest news on the uranium/nuclear industry
Yes, Fukushima nuclear plant DID have a full nuclear meltdown
It’s Official: Fukushima Hit With Full-Blown Nuclear Meltdown Gizmodo Australia, By Sam Biddle on May 13, 2011 The flow of bad news (and radiation) out of Fukushima’s reactors has diminished to a trickle over the past several weeks, as rescue work has proceeded. Not today. TEPCO’s admitted for the first time that Fukushima experienced a full meltdown.
The possibility of a meltdown has been floating in the air since the earthquake and subsequent explosions first rocked the roof off of Fukushima, spreading radiation, confusion and displacement across the local populace (and beyond). Since then, TEPCO workers and the Japanese government have desperately struggled to keep the nuclear fuel rods inside the reactors cool – if they don’t, the scorching material will melt into a pool of radioactive lava. That’s the scenario everyone’s been aiming to avoid – and that’s the scenario we now know had actually occurred all along. Underneath all that dumped seawater has been lying a blob of melted fuel. And it could be
This admittance goes against every assurance TEPCO has handed the world in the midst of Japan’s nuclear crisis – that the situation was bad, but that with emergency work, the plant would be mostly stable, and could be safely shutdown within the year. The worry now, beyond the fact that the damage to the reactor is far worse than imagined, is that a hole in the facility will lead incredibly contaminated water leak out like a faucet. A scalding, radioactive faucet.
So now what? “We will have to revise our plans,” Junichi Matsumoto, a TEPCO rep, told The Guardian. To say the least. [The Guardian and Kyodo News]
It’s Official: Fukushima Hit With Full-Blown Nuclear Meltdown | Gizmodo Australia
He cautioned that dangers remain. Conditions could get worse, he said, if the continued addition of water creates conditions more conducive to a nuclear reaction.
At the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, R. William Borchardt, the top staff official, briefed the five members of the commission on Thursday morning about the new disclosures, but did not describe them as major developments. Over all, he described the status of the Fukushima complex as “not exactly stable, but you might say that they’re static.”
Hiroko Tabuchi reported from Tokyo, and Matthew L. Wald from Washington.
Standard & Poor's today downgraded its credit rating for TEPCO, the operator of Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, saying the firm's profitability would be under pressure for some time.
The agency downgraded Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s long-term rating to 'BBB' from 'BBB+' while maintaining the short-term rating at 'A-2'.
'In our view, TEPCO's stand-alone credit profile has significantly weakened since our last rating action on April 1, 2011, and remains under significant downward pressure,' the ratings agency said in a statement.
Japan on Friday suggested for the first time that banks may have to waive some pre-quake loan terms to the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant before it gets public help to pay compensation.
Banking shares tumbled on comments from Yukio Edano about Tokyo Electric Power's fate -- in particular, that the public would not accept government financial support for TEPCO unless banks waive some pre-quake loan terms.
"I don't think the Japanese public would possibly show support" for an injection of public funds into Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) without a debt waiver of pre-disaster bank loans, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, the top government spokesman.
"Loans after the quake are a different story," Edano added.
The remark came as the Japanese government announced a rescue plan Friday to keep TEPCO solvent and help it foot the bill for the Fukushima disaster.
TEPCO should consider digging a trench around reactors 1-3 all the way down to the bedrock, which is about 50 feet below the surface, said Arnie Gundersen
The government is considering building an underground barrier near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to prevent radioactive material from spreading far from the plant via soil and groundwater, a senior government official said.
Sumio Mabuchi, a special adviser to the prime minister, revealed the plan Friday at the Japan National Press Club building in Tokyo. The plan is the first attempt to address the risk of contaminated water spreading far from the plant through soil.
According to Mabuchi, the barrier would extend so far underground that it would reach a layer that does not absorb water. The wall would entirely surround the land on which reactors No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 stand.
Mabuchi is a member of the unified command headquarters set up by the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. to deal with the nuclear crisis. He serves as the head of government representatives on a team dealing with medium- and long-term issues, including how to contain the spread of radioactive materials from the plant.