Nuclear Power Industry Issue

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 Nuclear Power Industry in the US The nuclear power industry in the United States of America has its origin in the post-World War 2 era where President Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace Program oversaw the first commercial generation of nuclear power at Shippingport Atomic Power Station (Duke Energy, 2012) with an initial capacity of 60 megawatts (Department Of The Interior). In 2017, United States of America generated 805TWh from its nuclear power plants (World Nuclear Association, 2018) which accounted for 20% of the net electricity generated in the US. In 2018, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that there were 61 nuclear power plants across 30 states in the US wit 99 nuclear reactors in total ( U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2018). Figure 1 reported by World Nuclear Association (2018) shows the distribution of nuclear power plants in the US. Figure 1: Distribution of Power Plants in the US The 1990s saw the industry go through ownership changes. With deregulation of electricity prices, the industry became attractive for consolidation. At the end of 1999, that number had dropped to 87, and the largest 12 of them owned 54% of the capacity (World Nuclear Association, 2018).        

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), an independent regulatory agency that is responsible for overseeing the civilian use of nuclear materials in the United States (Britannica Encyclopaedia, 2018). The NRC provides focuses on providing standards and regulations for safe use of nuclear material for generating electricity commercially. They oversee the entire life-cycle of nuclear material in the country. They are also responsible for establishing safety standards and investigating incidents. Nuclear Power Industry in the Japan The nuclear power industry in Japan was setup around the same time as that in the US. The industry is regulated by Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), which was established in 1956 along with several other related organizations like Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI). Japan's established a prototype reactor which used Nuclear Energy to boil water (BWR – Boiling water Reactors) and consequently produce electricity in the year 1963 (World Nuclear Association, 2018).

The article suggests that this reactor was used to assess commercial viability and was tested for decommissioning purposes. The author mentions that commercial operation of a nuclear power plant began in 1966 when Japan imported Tokai 1 built by GEC from UK. Some of the subsequent plants were constructed with the expertise of US base plant designers, who agreed to license similar designs to be developed by the Japanese in the future. According to Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (2016), as of 2010, Japan was 19.9% self-sufficient. Meaning Japan was importing around eighty percent of its energy needs. This Japanese dependence on energy import grew after the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster. The country shutdown operation of all its nuclear reactors which accounted for 28.6% of its electricity generation (Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, 2016).

According to Energy Information Administration (2013), Japan ranked as the second largest net importer of fossil fuels in the world in 2012, trailing only China. According the below figure, METI (2017) states that only 5 of the country's reactors are operational and that 13 are under review. While the country faces high energy demand, 15 reactors have been decommissioned post Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

The article depicts the target generation distribution between different energy types in the below image (Shinkawa, 2018). Industrial Risks Industrial Atomic Energy Agency (2001) has identified risks faced by Nuclear Power Plants. The Publication states that a company operating a nuclear power plant would face several risks which will be defined by several parameters specific to each of them. According to the Agency (2001), the frequency and severity will be a function of the broad classification of the risk. Organizations are exposed to many sources of risk, which might be characterized into four broad categories: 1. safety related, 2. production/operations, 3. commercial/financial, and 4. strategic (Industrial Atomic Energy Agency, 2001).

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Nuclear Power Industry Issue. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved December 1, 2023 , from

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