Considering our nuclear future

If you wonder whether what is happening at Fukushima in Japan is having an impact on the future of nuclear power, it is, at least in terms of how people are talking about nuclear power.

I just found a story that highlights the hurdles nuclear energy was having anyway. Surprisingly, most of its problems are not political. They may be a question of economics.

That’s why some outside experts have long thought the nuclear renaissance was overblown, even before Fukushima. In a 2007 report for the Council on Foreign Relations, Charles Ferguson noted that all of the 104 reactors currently operating in the United States will likely need to be decommissioned by mid-century. Replacing those reactors (so simply preserving the status quo) would mean building a new reactor every four or five months for 50 years—already a “daunting” pace.

The New Republic has the goods on a nuclear future, written by Bradford Plummer.

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