Fukushima nuclear power plant, March 2011
"Clean, safe, too cheap to meter"
Well, it couldn't happen to a nicer industry. After all the years of enormous government subsidies, of misrepresentation of its true costs, of blatant lying about safety and dangers to public health, of negligible progress in storage of its radioactive wastes, of small, medium and catastrophic accidents, of attempts to stiff others with its debts (e.g., poor Vermont), etc., it now seems that nuclear power may be be collapsing under its own ponderous weight and mendacity.
Siemens, one of the world's leading producers of nuclear power plants, has announced that it is quitting the business altogether. The primary reason given for its decision is the ongoing Fukushima nuclear meltdown/melt through and its consequences for the firm's business prospects. Here are excerpts from the BBC story:
Chief executive Peter Loescher "told Spiegel magazine it was the firm's answer to "the clear positioning of German society and politics for a pullout from nuclear energy".
"The chapter for us is closed," he said, announcing that the firm will no longer build nuclear power stations.
A long-planned joint venture with Russian nuclear firm Rosatom will also be cancelled, although Mr Loescher said he would still seek to work with their partner "in other fields".
Siemens was responsible for building all 17 of Germany's existing nuclear power plants.
But more recently, the firm has limited itself to providing the non-nuclear parts of plants being built by other firms, including current projects in China and Finland.
The latest decision appears to imply a step back from building "conventional islands" - the non-nuclear plant in nuclear power stations - an area in which Siemens has remained active.
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For news on the State of Vermont's attempt to shut down the leaky Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and the state government's battle with "Entergy Corp." -- a debt and responsibility avoiding dummy corporation -- see this and this. The issue is here not only the safety of the plant, but also whether or not the citizens of Vermont will get stuck with the costs of decommissioning this notorious techno-turkey.
It seems that both governments and the world's leading engineering firms are bailing out while they still can.