WEDNESDAY 27 APRIL, 2011 |
Global Renewable Energy Capacity Eclipses Nuclear Power
Even before the Fukushima nuclear crisis hammered what some hope is another nail
in the nuclear power industry coffin; the sector was in decline - but renewables
gained a great deal of traction.
The rumours of a nuclear “renaissance" appear to have been
premature - even prior to the Fukushima radiation emergency.
Mycle Schneider, lead author of a new report from the WorldWatch
says the industry was "arguably on life support before
Fukushima" and that "Fukushima is likely to begin its final
As of the beginning of this month, there were 437 nuclear reactors operating
globally, seven less than in 2002. While seven new reactors commenced
operations in 2009 and 2010, 11 were shut down during that timeframe.
The report, entitled "The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2010-2011:
Nuclear Power in a Post-Fukushima World", states annual renewable capacity additions have been
overtaking nuclear start-ups for the last 15 years. Last year, global cumulative installed capacity from
biomass, waste-to-energy solar
power and wind turbines
bypassed installed nuclear capacity.
Among the issues nuclear power has faced is the increasing concern over safety
and costs for construction spiralling; even given the generous subsidies the
industry has enjoyed. The Institute says the Fukushima incident will see the
construction of new nuclear plants and extending the lifetime of current
reactors even more unviable.
from Queen's University in Canada found even just taking the
pre-Fukushima liability subsidies into account, if this funding were to be
diverted to solar
manufacturing, it would see more installed power and more electricity
produced by solar by the middle of this century compared to nuclear.
"For the global nuclear industry, the Fukushima disaster is an
historic—if not fatal—setback," says Schneider.
Late last week, the Japanese government made it illegal
to enter a 20km
evacuation zone around the damaged nuclear reactors and it could be six to nine
months before reassessment of the zone is undertaken.
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