Nuclear: 2 years after Fukushima
We all remembered the Fukushima nuclear disaster which was provoked by the tsunami in Japan on 11 March 2011. This disaster created reactions around the world. Environment associations militated for the ending of nuclear power and some countries decided to put an end to the nuclear energy by closing down their nuclear power stations. I already wrote an article about how was the energy transition in a country which (Germany) decided to stop using nuclear power. That is to show the importance of nuclear energy in the world. Such importance didn’t change and even, has increased during the two years after this disaster.
As I said, decisions should be taken with some more efficiency and less sentiments. Today studies and researches show that nuclear remains a dynamic growth industry. As proof, the number of contracts of nuclear installations increased since the accident of Fukushima. According to the report of the Energy Information Administration of the USA, 69 nuclear reactors are under construction in the world in 2013.
This progress is related mainly to the demand of the developing countries like China and India even if some other countries like Brazil prefer using biomass energy. In China, from 2010 to 2012, 9 nuclear reactors have been put on. What explains such interest for this polemic energy source?
There are numerous reasons. The main argument is the fact that energy can be considered as a clean energy because it is not source of greenhouse gas emissions. Second, nuclear comes from the exploitation of uranium that is not a renewable mining source. But, the quantities of uranium remain important in the world and they can contribute again, for some more years, to implement nuclear power. Also, nuclear power is a low cost energy that can replace fossil energies in some years.
While in some countries, debates surrounding nuclear power use, in some other, nuclear is seen as a great perspective. In France, for example, the government decided to extend the reactor’s lifetime in order to finance the energy transition. A good idea for a country which is considered as a leader of nuclear industry.
What about countries that decided to abandon nuclear ? Such countries try to invest in some other energy sources. In Germany, we saw that the transition was not as good as that. In Japan, where the accident happened, the country began a small and progressive transition by investing in solar energy and also the storage of energy.
The main problem concerning nuclear power is about the waste management problems. For the moment, this question did not find a definitive solution. One more argument for opponents to the nuclear industry…