On April 26, 1986, the meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine marked one of the worst-ever accidents in the history of the energy industry. The catastrophe seemed to confirm the worst expectations of the environmental movement, which had always warned against the ecological risks of nuclear power. Thirty years later, the nuclear industry is facing a meltdown of a different kind: an economic meltdown. “New nuclear – the economics say no” was the headline of a 2009 analyst report published by Citigroup. The bankers had taken a closer look at the financial viability of the proposed construction of nuclear power plants in the UK and concluded that five risks make it very difficult to invest profitably in nuclear: planning, construction, power price, operational and decommissioning risk. They went on to conclude that each of the middle three of these risks alone would be enough to “bring even the largest utility company to its knees financially”. Two years after the report was published, Citi’s claim was empirically validated. The meltdown in three reactors of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant in Japan led to widespread contamination.
Swiss Info 25th April 2016 read more »