Energy

The 20 percenters: Nuclear energy faces reality – and its likely decline

Once the promise of clean, near limitless energy, nuclear is now in its waning years

Offices at Los Alamos National Laboratory sit atop a hill in the high desert outside Santa Fe, N.M.

Offices at Los Alamos National Laboratory sit atop a hill in the high desert outside Santa Fe, N.M.

LOS ALAMOS, NM – “On construction sites in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, workers are building what may become the final five major nuclear power plants built in the United States.

Nuclear energy, once a symbol of American ingenuity, the fulfillment of the futuristic promise of near-limitless electricity and near-zero emissions, may soon face an economic meltdown.

Cheap natural gas, together with plummeting prices for wind and solar, has upended the energy sector – not only making nuclear plants’ huge upfront costs, endless regulatory approvals and yearslong construction especially prohibitive, but undercutting the very idea of a centralized power system. Industry and regulators, meanwhile, still have not devised a long-term solution for dispensing of nuclear waste. And despite the best marketing efforts by industry, ever-present safety concerns have little abated since the most recent nuclear incident: the meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan following a tsunami in 2011.”

— Alan Neuhauser, U.S. News

link to article

Tags: