(Reuters) – Nuclear power has become hard to justify as the shale gas revolution creates an abundance of natural gas that makes it the fuel of choice to back up renewables, the chief executive of General Electric told the Financial Times on Monday.
A sharp rise in shale gas production in North America in the past five years has pulled U.S. natural gas prices down close to 10-year lows and could turn the country into a gas exporter soon.
Large conventional offshore gas findings in Europe and Africa in the past two years, vast existing reserves in Russia and Central Asia and increasing production in Australia also mean gas is abundant elsewhere as well.
At the same time, nuclear power has come under pressure following the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima reactor during the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, with countries such as Germany and Switzerland pulling out of nuclear power generation.
“They’re finding more gas all the time. It’s just hard to justify nuclear. Gas is so cheap and at some point, economics rule,” the newspaper quoted GE CEO Jeff Immelt as saying in an interview on Monday.
GE is one of the world’s leading power generation engineering companies and, together with Japan’s Hitachi, is also active in designing and building nuclear reactors.
“It’s really a gas and wind world today,” said Immelt, referring to two sources of electricity he said most countries were shifting towards as natural gas became “permanently cheap”.
Solar and wind power, aided by component price drops and government subsidies, have made renewable power more competitive during the higher priced peak demand hours (usually 0800 to 2000 local time).
Immelt said that because GE was active in all forms of power generation, such a shift in production trends would have a limited impact on the company.
This website updates the latest news about the Fukushima nuclear plant and also archives the past news from 2011. Because it's always updated and added live, articles, categories and the tags are not necessarily fitted in the latest format.
I am the writer of this website. About page remains in 2014. This is because my memory about 311 was clearer than now, 2023, and I think it can have a historical value. Now I'm living in Romania with 3 cats as an independent data scientist.
Actually, nothing has progressed in the plant since 2011. We still don't even know what is going on inside. They must keep cooling the crippled reactors by water, but additionally groundwater keeps flowing into the reactor buildings from the broken parts. This is why highly contaminated water is always produced more than it can circulate. Tepco is planning to officially discharge this water to the Pacific but Tritium is still remaining in it. They dilute this with seawater so that it is legally safe, but scientifically the same amount of radioactive tritium is contained. They say it is safe to discharge, but none of them have drunk it.