• 3 minutes e-car sales collapse
  • 6 minutes America Is Exceptional in Its Political Divide
  • 11 minutes Perovskites, a ‘dirt cheap’ alternative to silicon, just got a lot more efficient
  • 2 days GREEN NEW DEAL = BLIZZARD OF LIES
  • 3 days "What’s In Store For Europe In 2023?" By the CIA (aka RFE/RL as a ruse to deceive readers)
  • 2 days Even Shell Agrees with Climate Change!
  • 8 days America should go after China but it should be done in a wise way.
  • 3 days How Far Have We Really Gotten With Alternative Energy
  • 4 days The European Union is exceptional in its political divide. Examples are apparent in Hungary, Slovakia, Sweden, Netherlands, Belarus, Ireland, etc.
  • 4 days World could get rid of Putin and Russia but nobody is bold enough
  • 7 days Oil Stocks, Market Direction, Bitcoin, Minerals, Gold, Silver - Technical Trading <--- Chris Vermeulen & Gareth Soloway weigh in
Europe's Nuclear Power Renaissance

Europe's Nuclear Power Renaissance

Several European countries, including the…

Hedge Funds Bet Big On Uranium Stocks

Hedge Funds Bet Big On Uranium Stocks

Hedge funds are increasing investments…

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba is a writer and journalist based in Mexico City. She has extensive experience writing and editing environmental features, travel pieces, local news in the…

More Info

Premium Content

Can The Nuclear Industry Survive COVID-19?

In the United States, nuclear energy just can’t catch a break. Despite the fact that generating carbon-free energy has never been more important, the nuclear energy industry has been waning for years in the U.S. and now struggles to turn any profit, even while nuclear energy industries are going gangbusters in other countries, most notably Russia and China. Currently, the United States is the largest nuclear energy producer on Earth and is responsible for the production of a whopping one-third of all nuclear energy in the world. But that won’t last for long. Nuclear energy is on the rise globally as it falters in the U.S., and China is set to soar to first place in nuclear production before 2030. “GlobalData Plc predicts that China will pass France as the world’s No. 2 nuclear generator in 2022 and claim the top spot from the U.S. four years after that,” Bloomberg Green reported earlier this week.

Now, as many industry experts and energy sector pundits are lobbying for the centralization of renewable energy investment in post-COVID economic recovery plans, nuclear energy--a highly efficient form of energy production with zero greenhouse gas emissions--the faltering U.S. nuclear sector is trying to figure out how to get in on the next phase of the green energy revolution. But it won’t be easy.

“Record output from wind and solar is more frequently creating an oversupply that can push prices below where reactors are no longer profitable, or even to rates where utilities have to hand out power for free,” wrote Bloomberg Green in a separate article. And not even the nuclear sector outside the U.S. has been spared. “The rout has been exacerbated by the global pandemic gutting demand. Generators from France to Sweden, Germany and China have been forced to turn stations off or curb output.”

As energy demand has plummeted around the world thanks to the spread of the novel coronavirus and its subsequent economic downturn, the nuclear energy sector has gotten hit even harder than many other sectors. During the lockdown, “renewables have taken a bigger slice of the market because many nations had decided to give new green technologies priority into the grid” says Bloomberg Green. This is particularly true in Europe, where many previously successful nuclear plants are now losing out to renewables due to new policy measures. 

Related: What's Holding Natural Gas Prices Back?

In the United States, however, the picture looks very different. While the U.S. government has not taken any similar measures to prioritize renewable energy flow to the grid during the pandemic, the domestic nuclear industry was already in dire straits, in large part thanks to the explosion of cheap natural gas with the country’s recent shale revolution. “With prices in a rut, eight stations have gone dark since 2013. At least four more are scheduled to close permanently by 2025, including after one unit north of New York City shut at the end of April.” What’s more, many of the U.S. nuclear plants that are still hanging on are doing so in large part thanks to hefty government subsidies (and then saddling taxpayers with the huge cost of storing spent nuclear fuel as well.)

The nuclear sector will have to work hard to avoid being left behind. “We need to work on being more flexible in nuclear,” Magnus Hall, the chief executive officer of Swedish utility Vattenfall AB, was quoted by Bloomberg Green. “It’s a new way of learning how to run the plants and this is the mode we are in.”

While nuclear has taken quite a beating from the compounded impact of COVID-19 and the recent renewables push, it’s still a powerful power sector worldwide, and it’s global energy share remains larger than that of renewables. And while nuclear is taking a back seat in the U.S. and Europe, it’s surging in China, meaning it probably won’t lose its global status in the energy mix in the immediate future.

By Haley Zaremba for Oilprcie.com 

ADVERTISEMENT

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage





Leave a comment
  • One Second on June 08 2020 said:
    The main problem for nuclear is, that it is more expensive than renewable energy even when you add the required additional storage and grid costs for firming. That makes it also a not cost efficient solution for decarbonisation compared to renewables and additionally any attempt to make it more flexible makes it even more expensive on a per kWh basis. Without very high subsidies that also won't come down ever because renewables and firming get cheaper by the day, it just is not competitve and only has a future in markets where the nuclear industry is kept alive by the state in order to spread out the very high costs of the nuclear industruy for nuclear weapons over a broader base than just the military budget. Since the military budget in the US is so extremely high though, this does not matter to the US as much.

Leave a comment




EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News