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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-11-10 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. That might be the perspective of the nuclear salesforce but...
"...Even if Finland and France each builds a reactor or two, China goes for an additional 20 plants and Japan, Korea or Eastern Europe add a few units, the overall worldwide trend will most likely be downwards over the next two decades. With extremely long lead times of 10 years and more, it will be practically impossible to maintain, let alone increase the number of operating nuclear power plants over the next 20 years. The one exception to this outcome would be if operating lifetimes could be substantially increased beyond 40 years on average; there is currently no basis for such an assumption.

For practically all of the potential nuclear newcomers, it remains unlikely that fission power programs can be implemented any time soon within the required technical, political, economic framework. None of the potential new nuclear countries has proper nuclear regulations, an independent regulator, domestic maintenance capacity, and the skilled workforce in place to run a nuclear plant. It might take at least 15 years to build up the necessary regulatory framework in countries that are starting from scratch.

Furthermore, few countries have sufficient grid capacity to absorb the output of a large nuclear plant, an often-overlooked constraint. This means that the economic challenge to financing a nuclear plant would be exacerbated by the very large ancillary investments required in the distribution network.

Countries with a grid size and quality that could apparently cope with a large nuclear plant in the short and medium term encounter an array of other significant barriers. These include a hostile or passive government (Australia, Norway, Malaysia, Thailand); generally hostile public opinion (Italy, Turkey); international non-proliferation concerns (Egypt, Israel); major economic concerns (Poland); a hostile environment due to earthquake and volcanic risks (Indonesia); and a lack of all necessary infrastructure (Venezuela). Many countries face several of these barriers at the same time. p.6

Lack of a trained workforce and massive loss of competence are probably the most difficult challenges for proponents of nuclear expansion to overcome. Even France, the country with perhaps the strongest base of civilian nuclear competence, is threatened by a severe shortage of skilled workers. Demographics are a big cause: a large number of "baby-boomers" are approaching retirement about 40% of the nuclear staff of the worlds largest nuclear utility EDF by 2015. Currently, a maximum of 300 nuclear graduates are available for some 1,200 to 1,500 open positions. An additional difficulty stems from the fact that the number of nuclear graduates does not correspond at all to the availability of new recruits for the nuclear industry. In the USA for example only about one quarter of the 2008 nuclear graduates planned to actually work in the industry or a nuclear utility. Many prefer either to continue their studies or to join the military or other government and business sectors.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2009 With Particular Emphasis on Economic Issues
Mycle Schneider
Independent Consultant, Mycle Schneider Consulting, Paris (France)
Project Coordinator
Steve Thomas
Professor for Energy Policy, Greenwich University (UK)
Antony Froggatt
Independent Consultant, London (UK)
Doug Koplow
Director of Earth Track, Cambridge (USA)

Paris, August 2009

Commissioned by
German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety
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