Conference told that renaissance is possible

25 May 2007

A senior American nuclear industry advisor has told a global energy conference of his optimism that a “nuclear renaissance” is now possible in the USA after 27 years in which no new reactors have been ordered.

Dr Thomas Shea, chief non-proliferation specialist at the Pacific Northwest Center for Global Security told a high level Chatham House conference on The New Politics of Energy held in London, UK in May that with American reactor safety, reliability and economics improving, a reborn nuclear industry in the USA could also be “a significant part of the solution to the larger global problems of climate change, economic development and resource management.”

Shea welcomed the fact that “steps are being taken to stimulate new reactor construction.” Under the pressure of global warming and growing dependence on imported oil, 34 new reactors are now being considered in the USA, he stressed.

The conference also debated the recent new positive thinking about nuclear power in the European Union (EU), with Annalisa Giannella, special representative of the EU Council of Ministers secretariat claiming there was “at least the beginnings of a European position” backing nuclear power. She said Europe was in a unique position to develop solutions for the rest of the world.

John Mitchell, associate fellow at Chatham House (former the Royal Institute for International Affairs) concluded that nuclear energy was now “out of the closet.”

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