The ageing of the global reactor ﬂeet isn’t yet a crisis for the industry, but it is heading that way. In many countries with nuclear power the prospects for new reactors are dim and rear—guard battles are being fought to extend the life spans of ageing reactors that are approaching or past their design date. Perhaps the best characterisation of the global nuclear industry is that a new era is approaching — the Era of Nuclear Decommissioning — following on from its growth spurt then 20 years of stagnation.
The Era Of Nuclear Decommissioning Will Entail:
- A slow decline in the number of operating reactors.
- An increasingly unreliable and accident—prone reactor ﬂeet as ageing sets in.
- Countless battles over life span extensions for ageing reactors.
- Battles over and problems with decommissioning projects (e.g. the UK government’s £100+ million settlement over a botched decommissioning NDA tendering process, Sellaﬁeld). ‘
- Battles over taxpayer bailout proposals for companies and utilities that haven’t set aside adequate funds for decOmmissioning and nuclear waste management and disposal. (According to Nuclear Energy Insider, European nuclear utilities face “significant and urgent challenges” with over a third of the continent’s nuclear plants to be shut down by 2025 and utilities facing a 118 billion euro shortfall in decommissioning and waste management funds.)
- Battles over proposals to impose nuclear waste repositories and stores on unwilling or divided communities.
The only nuclear industry that is booming is decommissioning — the World Nuclear Association anticipates US$111 billion worth of decommissioning projects to 2035.
from Nuclear Monitor No. 856 – January 29, 2018
This means all anti-nuclear organisations must redouble their efforts to force the prompt and safe shut down worldwide of all nuclear plants. — Ed. (See also Hunterston B article).