[Reuters] CEO of GE “Nuclear power hard to justify in cheap gas world”

<Quote> [Reuters]

(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.

“We’ve got them all, so in some ways when you have them all you don’t have to be so smart about anything,” he said.




  1. Welcome back lori, did you attend the demonstrations? That last line was a winner, “you don’t have to be so smart about anything”. And apparently you do not have to be aware of the environmental disasters as you blast through the shale to reach the natural gas. The aquifers that hold our precious water supply are being poisoned/depleted and homeowners are able to light their water from the tap on fire because of the leakage of natural gas into their wells. In the North Sea, a methane disaster was caused by breaking through the seafloor. And the oil and gas from the sand extraction destroys our nature; the pipeline oil and gas coming through Canada and the center of the US right over the main aquifer is to be exported. The BP Oil spill that has killed the Gulf of Mexico, not to mention all life that lived in and around the gulf, that made the people sick, ruined and dead was apparently not expensive to BP, but it was to the people and environment. We are voices in the wilderness when we speak and demonstrate; the voices are ignored.

    The total lack of information about Fukushima and the nuclear plants that are failing in Japan and the US has kept people ignorant of the fragility of life. The main purpose has been to shelter the nuclear industry from negative truth while the plants continue to produce and keep the industry solvent. Life balanced with profit is not valuable. Shame.

  2. I’m probably not going to be very popular here, but I have to ask about Galen Winsor and what he said about radiation, and the nuclear power industry, and the whole publicly perceived, corporation enhanced energy shortage model. If Galen was correct, then we have all been conned on a massive scale by a collusion of the oil companies, as well as all those who produce products and services based on oil. Natural gas may be cleaner than oil, and if abiotic, then a sustainable resource, but fracking is deplorable and should be outlawed.

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About this site

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.


July 2012