Uranium prices are expected to rally in the coming years as a dramatic increase in nuclear power use means more uranium supply will be needed. But, even though nuclear power supply will grow there is still controversy surrounding its use. While some countries around the world are pushing ahead with ambitious nuclear power expansions, others are exiting the industry altogether, not wanting to risk another Chernobyl or Fukushima disaster.
Each week that goes by we hear about both plans to shut down nuclear plants and plans to build new nuclear power plants. Recently, South Korean President Moon Jae-in used the permanent shutdown of Kori unit 1 to outline his intended nuclear energy phase-out policy, stating that no new reactors will be planned, and those in service will not operate beyond 40 years. Earlier this year Switzerland indicated that it would exit the sector, joining the likes of Germany.
Meanwhile, a crucial, independent review of Australia’s electricity market noted that nuclear energy as one several “high-potential technologies and projects” which are beyond the scope of the blueprint but may have a place in a future review.
“In Australia, the establishment of nuclear power would require broad community consultation and the development of a social and legal license. There is a strong awareness of the potential hazards associated with nuclear power plant operation, including the potential for the release of radioactive materials. Any development will require a significant amount of time to overcome social, legal, economic and technical barriers,” the report added, according to World Nuclear News. This report was presented to the Australian Government.
While mishaps when it comes to nuclear power facilities can be disastrous, for many countries nuclear power is the best choice for electricity generation when considering accessibility, cost, and pollution. This is part of the reason we are seeing a rapidly expanding nuclear power sector in India and China, where large population growth, economic challenges, and a commitment to reduce emissions make nuclear power essential.