Some Positive Signs
I have become so accustomed to hearing about Fukushima, or more recently, about the trials and tribulations at some US nuclear power plants, that I have almost forgotten that there is a lot happening in the nuclear world, some of it very encouraging. This week seems to have had more than the usual share of promising reports. What is even more encouraging is that they come from a number of fronts.
In the US, Southern Company got a go-ahead from the USNRC to change the concrete mix in order to counter a problem discovered with the rebar in the building basemats for Vogtle 3 and 4. In addition, Uranerz received a permit from the State of Wyoming to begin drilling deep disposal wells for in-site mining at its Nichols Branch uranium mine in Wyoming's Powder River Basin. These reports follow closely on the heels of a public opinion survey that showed that public opinion in the U.S. in favor of nuclear power is again increasing.
Around the world, there are more positive signs. The World Nuclear Association publishes a weekly digest of news, and this week's list includes the following headlines:
- China flags return to new nuclear plant approvals
- Canadian reactor returns to service after four years
- Brits remain positive re nuclear power
- Queensland to allow uranium mining after 23 year ban
- New uranium mine go-ahead in South Australia.
Of course, all this news does not obscure the fact that the nuclear industry continues to face serious challenges, both in the U.S. and abroad. However, it does suggest that there is a broad base of support for nuclear power in many parts of the world, and that the industry is forging ahead on a number of fronts.