The dispute around enormous financial losses from the Finish Olkiluoto nuclear reactor project deepened yesterday, when the French nuclear giant Areva published its half-year results. Areva threatened to freeze construction if TVO does not submit to the company’s demands of shouldering a share of the cost. The latest estimate of construction costs reached €5.5 billion, which compares to the price of 2.5 billion originally presented to Finnish public and politicians.
Nuclear proliferation is used to describe the spread of fissile material, weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not (yet) in posession of nuclear weapons. It is feared that the likelyhood of a nuclear warfare does increase with the number of nations with nuclear weapons.
Nuclear proliferation is related to the civil application of nuclear power in the following ways:
Nuclear energy is a relatively small industry, but one with big problems. It covers just one-sixteenth of the world’s primary energy consumption, a share set to decline over the coming decades.
The average age of operating commercial nuclear reactors is 23 years. This means that more power stations are being shut down than built. In 2007, world nuclear production fell by 1.8 % and the number of operating reactors was 439, five less than the historical peak of 2002.
Electricity from nuclear energy is considered to be economical and very cost effective, in particular compared to electricity from renewable energy sources like wind, water, sun, biomass or geothermal energy.
There are two main reasons for the relative low cost of nuclear power:
The need for electricity has constantly risen world-wide over the last years. This is not only true for the so-called developing countries but also and in particular for all well-developed countries. In order to fulfil the demand, obviously additional power plants have to be built.
Which technology is best for generating electricity? This question certainly has to be answered on a case by case base. But it is very concerning that nuclear power plants more and more seem to be chosen as "the" technology of the future.