Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nuclear Power Overseas

William Tucker of The American Spectator reports that while the US nucelar industry is moribund, it's full speed ahead overseas. Sad to say, but the one remaining domestic manufacturer of nuclear technology (GE) does the vast majority of their business in foreign lands.

"GE, the last man standing from the earlier nuclear era, now does most of its business in partnership with Hitachi. Newcomers such as Hyperion are blazing a trail by building miniature reactors (60 megawatt as opposed to the standard 1,000). But the horrible truth remains that, if there is a nuclear renaissance going on in the world, it is happening mostly outside our borders, pioneered by companies that never were or are no longer American."

France's widepread adoption of nuclear power has it paying the lowest electrical rates in Europe, and has it posiitoned as a leading energy exporter within Europe, and importing half the natural gas that Germany and Britain do from Russia. Finland is busy building the first new reactor in Europe in twenty years, an dFranc eis building an identical plant. Sweden has reneged on its 1980 pledge to shut down its reactors by 2010, and Intaly has announced plans to build new reactors as well. Bulgaria and the Baltic states have also announced plans for new reactors.

Outside Europe, the UAE and the Saudis are looking to build plants, Japan has 55 reactors producing 30% of its electricity and building a huge 1300 megawatt plant, South Korea is aiming to reach French percentage levels of nuclear electrity production and has 11 new reactors being constructed and Taiwan has four plants producing 20% of its electrical power. China has 21 plants in the planning stage and India expects to build 18 to 20 stations over the next 15 years.

While there are 28 Amercian plants being planned, many of the suppliers are now foreign, such as steel reactor core vessel maker Japan Steel Works or Toshiba, which purchased one time GE rival Westinghouse in 2006. The fears of nuclear power in this country and the idiocy surrounding "nuclear waste" has withered the American manufacturing base for nuclear power to the point it has - there is definitely work to be had in the industry and it's sorry to say these jobs won;t be filled by American workers.

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