The nuclear renaissance has yet to crest in the United States.
More than 60 reactors are under construction in 14 countries...
And in spite of the fact that it's the world's largest producer of nuclear power, only three new plants are under construction in the U.S.: Watts Barr in Tennessee, Summer in South Carolina, and Vogtle in Georgia.
News out this week says those plants are running into cost overruns and delays.
In the case of the Tennessee Valley Authority Watts Bar plant, the finish date has been pushed from this year to 2015 and the cost has been inflated from $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion.
Making matters worse are low natural gas prices. The World Nuclear Association has said the U.S. plan to build 29 new reactors by 2021 will be dampened by low gas prices continuing for several years and “probably no more than four new units will come on line by 2020.”
But the United States is not the world, as much as it collectively thinks it is... and the International Atomic Energy Agency is still projecting up to 803 gigawatts in place by 2030 — a 113% increase from the 377 GW in place globally at the end of 2010.
Where Are They?
Basically in China, Russia, and India.
China has 14, is building 26, is planning 24, and has proposed 86... 150 total.
Russia has 33, is building ten, has planned 17, and has proposed 26... 86 total.
India has 20, is building 7, and has planned 39... 66 total.
Others are being built in Turkey, Poland, Finland, and France. And as we already discussed this week, more are under way in South Korea, Jordan, and the UAE.
The rest of the world isn't enjoying a shale boom and $2.00 per mmBtu natural gas, which is trading for $11.50 per mmBtu in Europe as I write this...
China was paying $7.25 for Turkmen gas delivered to the border in the first quarter.
With those prices, it makes sense for countries not named the United States to build new nuclear power plants.
And they are.
Safety and Japan
I've also told you Japan, after attempting to live without nuclear power, is starting to fire its nukes back up.
Even though reports have shown the disaster in Fukushima was preventable, new safety measures are being taken there — and across the globe.
That's why Hitachi and Toshiba and GE are co-developing a new nuclear fuel.
It's still being tested, but a single pellet of this fuel the size of my pinky finger can generate as much heat as a ton of high-quality coal... with zero emissions.
Early tests show it could help prevent any type of meltdown from ever happening again by allowing for a more stable and efficient reaction.
It can also increase the operating efficiency of nuclear plants by up to 50%.
Through patents and license agreements, this technology is completely controlled by a 13-cent company.
But with GE, Hitachi, and Toshiba already signed on to help develop and spread the fuel's use across the globe, it won't stay that way for long...
After testing, it will be ready to use in nearly all existing and future reactors.
Every expert I've talked to says this is the next big thing for nuclear energy: safety, efficiency, and cost reductions.
We put together a full report so you could hear what some of those experts had to say... and so you could see how drastically it will change the energy scene.
Call it like you see it,
Editor, Wealth Daily
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