Nuclear industry in crisis

Categories: Big picture
Published on: February 7, 2017

RenewEconomy / Jim Green / 06 February 2017

Forget the hype about so-called ‘Generation IV’ reactors ‒ the industry is having massive problems with ‘Generation III’ reactors, which are nothing more than modified versions of long-established reactor technology.

Problems with Generation III projects ‒ which largely explain Toshiba’s crisis ‒ are summarised in a recent Bloomberg piece: “Costly delays, growing complexity and new safety requirements in the wake of the triple meltdown at Fukushima are conspiring to thwart a new age of nuclear reactor construction. So-called generation III+ reactors were supposed to have simpler designs and safety features to avoid the kind of disaster seen in Japan almost six years ago.

“With their development, the industry heralded the dawn of a new era of cheaper, easier-to-build atomic plants. Instead, the new reactors are running afoul of tighter regulations and unfamiliar designs, delaying completions and raising questions on whether the breakthroughs are too complex and expensive to be realized without state aid.”

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