In this essay I would like to consider recent nuclear crisis in Japan and how it will affect world’s nuclear industry. As a matter of fact, nuclear crisis in nuclear power plant Fukusima-1 as well as terrible tsunami is the consequence of earthquake that has happened March 11, 2011. It should be noted that main reason of current nuclear crisis on the power plant was wire breakage at the power plant. Consequently, cooling system of all four reactors and nuclear storage with spent uranium rods has stopped. Obviously, this situation led to overheating the reactors and hydrogen explosion. As a result, in the 12 miles zone radiation maximum allowable has exceeded hundred times. It should be noted that the Japanese Government takes all measures to prevent nuclear catastrophe.
As a result of nuclear crisis in Japan many countries, such as Germany, the United States, France, Canada, Russia and others declared that they will reconsider their policy on further nuclear energy spread and also will develop new standards with the aim to improve safety of nuclear power stations. THESIS: can an accident with Fukushima-1 really refocus the world from the usage of nuclear energy? I think not, and I will explain why.
As a fact, according to Melissa Pistilli (2011), today, nuclear energy accounts for about 13 percent of global electricity production and 22 percent – in developed countries. In the U.S., and the EU nuclear power is also the most important source of energy without harmful emissions. International Energy Agency predicts that the total production of nuclear energy by 2030 will increase by 39.2 percent, which is equivalent to an increase by about 1.7 percent annually. However, many experts agree that the main growth of nuclear power will be provided by China and India, but also the EU and the U.S. are planning to increase their nuclear capacity in coming years. It can be said that nuclear energy currently has only 2.2 and 2 percent respectively of total energy production in China and India. Although, these countries have great prospects for energy growth and currently take real steps to develop their nuclear energy industry. As a fact, currently China is building 18 reactors, India – 6. Atomic Energy of India has taken a great leap forward with the conclusion of agreements on nuclear technology exchange with the United States and international organizations. Besides, the nuclear deal with the U.S. was the catalyst for the rapid growth of nuclear capacity in India, which faced the same challenges as China: rapid growth in demand for electricity, caused by the economic growth and urgent need in diversification of energy market, especially an alternative to coal. Today, India is building six reactors, which will increase its nuclear capacity two times.
According to Money Morning (2011), although significant growth of nuclear industry belongs to developing countries, also nuclear renaissance is now started in developed countries. Very interesting is the fact that more than three-quarters of all energy produced in France falls on the nuclear power plants. The country extracts enormous benefits from its commitment to nuclear power for many years. As a fact, France spends only 0.24 metric tons of CO2 for every thousand dollars of GDP, compared with 0.38 tons in Germany, 0.31 tons in the UK, and an average of 0.36 tons in the Europe. Thanks to its powerful nuclear industry, France is the largest electricity exporter in Europe, and has one of the lowest prices on electricity in the EU.
It can be said that our country also has a developed nuclear industry. In the U.S. there are 104 nuclear power plants, which produce about 20 percent of the total amount of electricity. Although since 1970 there have not been built any nuclear power plants, today one nuclear power plant is already under construction and another 11 are in the planning stages, according to Katie Connoll (2011).
To sum it up I would like to say that without any doubts Japan nuclear crisis will affect nuclear industry all over the world and leading countries will reconsider their attitude to nuclear energy in the issue of their safety and security. Of course, there are a lot of supporters of alternative energy and many of them call to complete abandon of traditional and nuclear energy usage, but, in my opinion, humanity is not ready for this step yet. Without any doubts transition to alternative energy sources will require incredible money costs and everybody should remember it. As a fact, I am supporter of alternative energy, but we should be realistic: only smooth transition to “green” energy is feasible.
It should be noted that today, nuclear energy remains one of the most reliable and efficient way to produce electricity. Humanity can not hope that wind will blow all the time, and sun will shine constantly. Of course, people prefer to use something that does not produce carbon dioxide and other emissions, but eventually all natural resources such as natural gas, coal and oil will run out. That is why I believe that nuclear energy technologies in the future will grow. In my opinion, this is confirmed by the objective facts.
Katie Connoll (2011). Japan earthquake: Impact on US nuclear energy future. Retrieved March 19, 2011 from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12738459
Ken Dilanian, Don Lee (2011). Japan’s crisis may have already derailed “nuclear renaissance”. Retrieved March 19, 2011 from http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-sci-japan-nuclear-plants-20110314,0,4401283.story
Melissa Pistilli (2011). The Nuclear Power Industry Will Survive the Japan Crisis. Retrieved March 19, 2011 from http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/124319/20110319/nuclear-power-industry-will-survive-the-japan-crisis.htm
Money Morning (2011). Japan Nuclear Crisis: New Power Plant Construction Renaissance in Peril. Retrieved March 19, 2011 from http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article26957.html