Magazine article USA TODAY

Is Japanese Disaster the Beginning of the End?

Magazine article USA TODAY

Is Japanese Disaster the Beginning of the End?

Article excerpt

Even before the disaster in Fukushima, the world's nuclear industry was in clear decline, according to a report from Worldwatch Institute, Washington, D.C. The report was commissioned months before the crisis in Japan began and paints a bleak picture of an aging industry unable to keep pace with its renewable energy competitors.

"The industry was arguably on life support before Fukushima. When the history of the nuclear industry is written, Fukushima is likely to begin its final chapter," predicts lead author Mycle Schneider.

Some of the report's key findings include:

* Annual renewable capacity additions have been outpacing nuclear startups for 15 years. In the U.S., the share of renewables in new capacity additions went from two percent in 2004 to 55% in 2009. with no new nuclear capacity added.

* In 2010, for the first time, worldwide cumulative installed capacity from wind turbines, biomass, waste-to-energy, and solar power surpassed installed nuclear capacity. Total investment in renewable energy technologies was estimated at $243,000,000,000 in 2010.

* As of April 1,2011, there were 437 nuclear reactors operating in the world, seven fewer than in 2002. …

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