Russia is emerging as the worldwide leader in nuclear power.
According to the international Atomic Energy Agency, 60 new nuclear power plants are being built around the world.
Worldwide, there are around 440 nuclear power plants in operation, of which approximately 99 are in the united States.
In spite of the United States having more nuclear power plants in operation than any other country, the United States lags badly in its ability to build new nuclear plants.
Most notable is the lack of heavy forging presses to handle the large forgings required for reactor vessels. In fact, the largest presses in the U.S. can only handle forgings up to 270 tons at one location, and 170 and 175 tons at the remaining two locations.
In comparison, Japan, China and Russia have presses that can handle 600 ton forgings. South Korea and France can handle 500-ton forgings.
The latest reactors require forging presses with 500- and 600-ton capabilities.
But, Russia is evolving as the leading builder of nuclear power plants.
It currently has orders for, or is in the process of constructing, 33 new nuclear power plants around the world, plus 4 within Russia. This doesn’t include floating power plants.
Russia is also developing and building fast breeder reactors.
China is rapidly becoming the second most important user and builder of nuclear power plants, partly in cooperation with Russia. But with a copycat version of the Westinghouse AP1000 (Japan) designated the CAP 1400, China has ambitious plans to build these units in China and to export the CAP 1400 design.
China currently has 35 nuclear power plants in operation, and another 20 under construction. It has plans to have around 150 nuclear reactors in operation by 2050.
Nuclear power in the United States, Europe and Japan is largely at a standstill. Only four nuclear power plants are under construction in the United States, 1 in France and possibly 1 in the UK.
Meanwhile, the United States is shutting down reactors, 5 in the past 4 years, while Germany has promised to shut down all its remaining 8 reactors by 2022. Japan is struggling with whether to restart the reactors it shut down after the Fukushima disaster.
It was only 35 years ago that the United States was a leader in nuclear energy.
The 1979 movie China Syndrome, with misleading and inaccurate information, was the turning point when radical environmentalists began convincing Americans that nuclear energy was dangerous.
Jane Fonda, and others, had to know that their diatribe was false. They have done a terrible disservice to all Americans. See, Destruction of America’s Nuclear Industry.
Russia and China are the emerging nuclear power leaders, and there is not much the United States can do to alter the immediate future. It’s entirely possible that all of the nuclear power plants in the United States will be shut down by the end of this century.
If small nuclear reactors become plausible, the United State could possibly regain a leadership role.
If not, Russia and China will likely dominate the nuclear power industry for the next several decades.
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Nothing to Fear, Appendix 3, describes the decline in U.S. nuclear power generation and why all nuclear power plants in the U.S. could be shut down by 2100.
Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.
Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy
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