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Nuclear Power - Micro Economics - Research Paper Example

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Nuclear power was finding acceptance as an alternative to fossil fuels to reduce global warming until the accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant in Japan in March 2011. A 15- meter tsunami wave after an earthquake caused disruption of power supply to the cooling systems,…
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Nuclear Power - Micro Economics
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Nuclear Power - Micro Economics

Download file to see previous pages... The cost of the Fukushima accident is estimated in August 2014 to be $ 105 billion, twice the estimates made in 2011. The costs may go up further by the time the plant is finally decommissioned and radioactive material safely disposed of. This cost will be borne by the Japanese people through taxes and utility bills (RT.com, August 2014).
The Fukushima accident investigation showed no fault by the plant operators or faults in design or construction. The plant was simply unable to withstand tsunami forces. This is unlike the Three Mile Island accident in the US in 1979 where some valves in the reactor cooling system malfunctioned and the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine in 1986 which was attributed to flaws in reactor design and mistakes by plant operators.
Following the Fukushima accident, the German government decided to shut down all its nuclear reactors that generate 23% of the country’s power. This decision will make the acceptance of nuclear power plants very difficult in other parts of the world.
Meltdowns and accidents that cause a radioactive release over a wide area. The nuclear power industry has argued that the newer designs of reactors are safer than earlier designs, but no one can be certain of safety in an event such as an earthquake or a tornado. Nuclear power plants built over 40 years ago are still in service and cannot be easily upgraded. Problems of human error cannot be completely eliminated.
Nuclear waste. Spent fuel rods are stored in water pools for cooling. There is risk of leakage of contaminated water from the storage pools into underground aquifers or surface streams. After cooling, the spent fuel rods are transported to a permanent long term storage site such as the Yucca Mountain in Nevada. There is the risk of an accident during transport which causes radioactive release.
These issues relate to public safety and cannot be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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