The nuclear energy industry is facing international and domestic challenges and competition, even though several new American plants will likely get their final approval this week, Westinghouse Electric Co.’s new president and CEO said.
Jim Ferland, who takes over at Westinghouse April 1, said the nuclear industry is in the middle of a renaissance, but not quite as ready to compete as it was 18 months ago, reports the Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Last year’s tsunami in Japan created several problems for the nuclear power industry, Ferland said at a symposium held at the University of Pittsburgh this week. The deadly waves created a massive meltdown at the Fukushima, Japan, nuclear power plants, which were designed by General Electric.
The emergency caused many to further distrust nuclear energy at about the same time natural gas prices were starting to go down. With natural gas prices at their lowest level in more than a decade, it is being considered as a cheaper way to fuel electric plants.
Meanwhile, Westinghouse is moving forward with its nuclear-powered plants.
In December, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave Westinghouse the go-ahead to build the first new domestic nuclear power plants since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.
The new plants will be located in Georgia and South Carolina.
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