There was a time when nuclear power was considered to be the bulwark of America’s energy future. Now the titan appears to be teetering. Westinghouse Electric Co. — long considered the leader in nuclear power development — filed for bankruptcy protection in late March. The move puts in jeopardy the completion of two nuclear plants in the Southeast that had been heralded as proof the industry’s future was still vibrant. The news added to a long list of nuclear’s woes: California is on the verge of eliminating its last remaining nuclear power plant. Nuclear waste, stranded in places such as the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, isn’t going away any time soon. The industry is still reeling from the 2011 tsunami that hit the Fukushima plant in Japan, which prompted some countries such as Germany to turn away from nuclear power. Within hours of the Westinghouse announcement, some industry opponents pounced. The group Beyond Nuclear sent out a tweet concluding: “Time to recognize the nuclear show’s over.” Damon Moglen, senior strategic adviser for Friends of the Earth, said: “It’s really the death rattle of the nuclear industry.”
LA Times 17th April 2017 read more »
It is fair to say that nuclear power has been in the doldrums over the past 20 years, with no new power stations built since Sizewell B in 1995. But now with the nation’s legally binding commitments to cutting greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, and the need to keep our lights on with mix of energy sources, Britain is once again planning a nuclear future. In Lancashire, thousands of jobs rely on the nuclear industry and have been carrying on regardless despite lack of appetite from consecutive governments for atomic energy following worries over dealing with nuclear waste and a series of high-profile accidents around the world. Safety standards have been tightened and new technology could produce much more energy than the old reactors of the past. Heysham’s two EDF-owned advanced gas cooled reactors provide not only of energy, for around four million homes, but also employment for 1,500. That’s a yearly wage bill of £80m with much of that money going into our local economy. Both have been given extensions to their lifespan. Heysham 1 is due to shut down in 2024 and its younger sister reactor in 2030.
Blackpool Gazette 17th April 2017 read more »