“There’s no way the actual incident that occurred in Japan could happen here.”
From a Wall Street Journal interview of NRG Energy’s David Crane:
WSJ: How has the nuclear industry changed since Fukushima?
NRG Energy CEO David Crane on how the Japanese nuclear disaster has changed the U.S. energy industry.
Mr. Crane: What’s really changed are the prospects for new nuclear plants. Not to be too hysterical about it, but from the point of global nuclear safety, where we are now is the worst possible position. The three leaders in nuclear safety—Japan, France and the U.S.—have essentially taken a step away from new nuclear power, and that means China and India will be building all the new plants. I have nothing against Chinese or Indian safety standards, but I don’t think the world’s a safer place when China and India are the leaders in nuclear safety.
WSJ: Are current U.S. safety regulations sufficient to prevent a nuclear disaster?
Mr. Crane: There’s no way the actual incident that occurred in Japan could happen here. There’s no U.S. nuclear plant where the backup diesel generators are right next to the ocean, below sea level. U.S. safety standards are much more substantial in terms of the source of backup power.
WSJ: Have consumers been spooked about nuclear?
Mr. Crane: There may be individual plants that were already having issues—Indian Point, Vermont Yankee—before Fukushima happened, and certainly that doesn’t help. But for the most part, the existing nuclear industry is fine.
People forget that nuclear provides 20% of the electricity in the United States. There have been no new nuclear plants started in this country for 30 years, and plants have a life span. By the year 2050, every nuclear plant in the United States will be gone. So even if you wanted to maintain the status quo, we have to start adding four reactors a year starting in 2020…