Two nuclear power plants perched near earthquake faults in California could struggle to get relicensed after a cascade of natural and nuclear disasters across the Pacific Ocean in Japan galvanized opposition groups.
Nuclear engineer Jose Reyes jolted awake at 4:45 a.m. on March 11 when his son called to warn him that a massive earthquake had unleashed a tsunami that rocked Japan. Giant waves were heading for the Oregon coast, about an hour from Reyes’s Corvallis office.
Southern Co. is poised to end a three-decade freeze on nuclear development as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission considers granting it the first license to build new reactors since the Three Mile Island accident.
Japan’s taxpayer , not the nuclear industry or insurers, will cover most of the cleanup cost from the worst accident since Chernobyl, a financial rescue that may spur moves by nations to make companies assume more liability.
Russia, one of the world’s biggest oil and gas exporters, aims to become a global leader in nuclear power, too. State-owned nuclear group Rosatom now has 15 reactors under construction worldwide, more than any other international supplier. Five of the 15 are outside Russia, and more are coming soon, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Oct. 4 issue.