Global nuclear ‘renaissance’ faltered before Fukushima

The ‘nuclear renaissance’ which has been touted over the last decade was faltering even before the disaster at Fukushima, claims an American academic. Mark Cooper, a senior fellow at Vermont […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The ‘nuclear renaissance’ which has been touted over the last decade was faltering even before the disaster at Fukushima, claims an American academic.

Mark Cooper, a senior fellow at Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment suggests in his latest paper that high costs were off-putting and the disaster in Japan earlier this year has added to objections against nuclear.

Dr Cooper said: “Before Fukushima, the mythical ‘nuclear renaissance’ had already proven to be a bubble with the air rapidly leaking out of it. Fukushima is magnifying the economic problems that the ‘nuclear renaissance’ faced. Nuclear suffered from high cost and continuous cost escalation, high risk and uncertainty long before Fukushima.”

Peter Bradford at the Vermont Law School and former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission member added this was clear from America’s nuclear plans: “Two forthcoming projects are all that remain of a thirty-one reactor fantasy fleet that was said to constitute the real nuclear renaissance as recently as early 2009. It is important to understand that this collapse was well underway before the accident at Fukushima. It was the result of nuclear power’s high costs compared to other alternatives.”