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Overview


Rays of Hope, Clouds of Doubt


Te promise of nuclear power for electricity is countered by its perils. Te prom- ise is clean, carbon-free electricity that can transform nations and economies. Te perils include what methods to use for the long-term storage of unwanted spent nuclear fuel, the still radioactive uranium or plutonium that could generate power for electricity if we were to recycle it. Tere is also the small but real danger of ac- cidents that can contaminate a countryside for hundreds of years aſter a catastrophic accident. Te Fukushima reactor disaster in March 2011, which is still posing a risk to the environment in Japan, is a reminder of these perils. Another—and longer lasting—reminder is what is officially known as the Chernobyl Nuclear Power


The nuclear power industry shows signs of recovery, but risks of many kinds are scattered across the path to the future.


An 1100-ton CA20 module is placed into Vogtle Unit 3’s nuclear island. The module, more than five stories high, will house various plant components, including the used-fuel storage area.


Plant Zone of Alienation. Virtually no one has been allowed in this exclusion zone, covering nearly 3000 km2 around the nuclear facility in Chernobyl, Ukraine, in the aſtermath of a calamitous accident in 1986. Despite its risks, nuclear power is a substantial part of the world’s energy mix.


Tere are 435 nuclear power plants (NPPs) in operation worldwide, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), generating 372,126 MW of electric- ity. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, electricity generated from NPPs


Bruce Morey Contributing Editor


Energy Manufacturing 2014 17


Photo courtesy Georgia Power Co.


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