According the American business magazine 'Forbes', "The failure of the US nuclear power program ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history"2.
Early hopes of cheap nuclear energy were based on an expectation that whilst nuclear power stations would be more expensive than fossil fuel plants, their running and maintenance costs would be extremely low. Experience has shown that the early optimism was totally misplaced.
The cost of nuclear activity at all levels has exceeded those early predictions. In many countries, the construction costs of nuclear power plants have proved to be much higher than first expected. Plants have taken longer to build and there have been many unforeseen technical problems. Running costs have also been much less predictable than was first thought. The costs of increased safety demands and regular equipment breakdowns have been compounded by the expensive question of how to deal with the nuclear waste.
In addition, the predicted cost of decommissioning power stations has also escalated3.
The nuclear industry is in near-terminal decline world-wide, following its failure to establish itself as a clean, cheap, safe or reliable energy source. The on-going crisis in nuclear waste management, in safety and in economic costs have severely undermined the industry's credibility. It is currently desperate to find a valid rationale and justification for renewed state support and funding. It is promoting the claim that as nuclear power stations do not emit carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas, switching from fossil fuels to nuclear power is the only way to cut Carbon Dioxide (CO2) without radically changing consumption patterns. However, even the most perfunctory examination of the issue shows that nuclear power has no role whatever in tackling global climate change. In fact quite the opposite is true; any resources expended on attempting to advance nuclear...