From: Editor, Worldwatch Institute, More from this Affiliate
Published April 13, 2011 08:25 AM

Nuclear Power After Fukushima

Berlin, Germany—The future of nuclear power was bleak, even before the Fukushima disaster, said energy expert Mycle Schneider Wednesday at a press conference in Berlin, where he previewed an upcoming Worldwatch report on the outlook of nuclear power.


"The industry was arguably on life support before Fukushima. When the history of this industry is written, Fukushima is likely to introduce its final chapter," said Schneider, the lead author of the new report, which was previewed in Berlin today at an event hosted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Preliminary findings from the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2010-201: Nuclear Power in a Post-Fukushima World, which will be released around the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, point to a bleak future for the nuclear industry. Nuclear reactor startups have been in steady decline since the 1980s, with only China bucking the trend in recent years. China, which has frozen all new projects since the Fukushima crisis started, already has 4.5 times more installed wind than nuclear capacity and in 2011 will likely generate more electricity from wind than from its reactors.

Meanwhile, world total nuclear generating capacity has remained roughly steady for the past 20 years, while the actual output has declined slightly. In contrast, output from wind, solar, and biofuels have experienced tremendous growth over the same period. Furthermore, many of the world's nuclear plants are fast approaching the end of their viable lifespan, increasing the likelihood that the share of electricity from nuclear power will decline in the coming decades. The Fukushima disaster will make it increasingly difficult for operators to argue for lifetime extensions.

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