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Fukushima and the 'nuclear renaissance' that wasn't
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CNN


CNN, April 15, 2011
Posted: April 19th, 2011
http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/15/fukushima...

A month after a devastating earthquake sent a wall of water across the Japanese landscape, the global terrain of the atomic power industry has been forever altered. The ongoing drama at the power plant in Fukushima ... has erased the momentum the nuclear industry has seen in recent years. Before Fukushima, a "nuclear renaissance" - as it was termed in the press - seemed well underway, except for this point: Nuclear power, as a total of world energy supply, has been in steady decline for the past decade. From 2000 to 2008, nuclear energy dropped from 16.7% to 13.5% of global energy production, according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2009. The 2010-11 preliminary report, expected to be released [on April 20], will show the downward trend has continued. Costs of nuclear power plants can be as high as $10 billion. The average construction time is seven years, but with licensing approval new builds often take a decade. Nuclear power reactors are dependent on government subsidies and loan guarantees to be built, cover costs in case of accidents and assume long-term responsibility for storage of spent radioactive fuel, critics say, which artificially lowers the cost of production. Market reaction has been swift against the nuclear industry after the Fukushima disaster. Companies on the Standard & Poor's Clean Energy Index rose on average 17% in the wake of the disaster, while companies on the S&P Nuclear Index fell 8.7%.

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