Nuclear power: Too hot to handle

Aside from the timely topic there are some great graphics in here (hat tip Chart Porn).

Nuclear reactors

The nuclear world: interactive map

On Energy Source: an interactive map with the location and details of every reactor in the world

Ever since the earthquake and tsunami struck the eastern seaboard of Japan last Friday, the eyes of the world have been on the Fukushima Daiichi power station. For the nuclear industry, there are reasons to watch that go beyond simple human sympathy.

Although it is still too soon to know how the crisis at Fukushima will end, already the harrowing scenes from the site are provoking a widespread re-examination of nuclear safety that will, at the very least, lead to significant delays in new investments, an inevitable rise in cost and probably more rapid closures of existing plants. China, the world’s biggest builder of nuclear reactors, on Wednesday froze applications for new plants pending a review of safety.

Unless the stricken reactors are brought quickly under control, the industry could enter another two-decade global freeze like the one that followed the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The consequences would include faster long-term growth in demand for fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, leading to tighter supplies and higher prices. It would also mean a further rise in the emissions of greenhouse gases created by burning those fuels – and further undermine climate policies around the world.


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