Monday, September 28, 2009

Nuclear Power Blooms Even in Recession

French nuclear power company Areva has more than doubled in size over the past economically turbulent three years. Areva is scrambling to locate and hire qualified workers to meet exploding demand for new nuclear power stations.
Despite the recession, Areva, which is 91 per cent-owned by the French State, has more than doubled in size in three years as France seeks to cement its position as a supplier of nuclear equipment and capitalise on a renewed focus on the technology as countries try to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

Over the next decade, the world is expected to build 180 nuclear power plants, up from only 39 since 1999, and Areva, the world's largest builder of reactors, has ambitions to build one third of them.

It intends to recruit 10,000-12,000 staff globally this year and a similar number in 2010. “Financial crisis or not, this action plan is going ahead,” Mr Oursel said. “We see more and more countries coming to us.”

The bulk of recruits will join Areva’s workforce of 75,000 in France, China, the Middle East and the United States. _Times
Bureaucratic obstructionism and Obama's energy starvation tactics in the United States have stalled new nuclear power construction. But in more energy-realistic climates, nuclear energy is rightly seen as the best foundation for solid industrial and economic growth.

Al Fin engineers favour the new factory built modular reactors, in terms of quality control, lower costs, and the greater range of options for scalability and decentralisation / redundancy. But the huge nuclear power concerns such as Areva, Westinghouse, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, and GE-Hitachi, can also provide excellent value in terms of long-lasting large scale reliable baseload energy.

There will be a shortage of qualified workers, as activity in the nuclear power sector expands. Likewise there will be shortages of specialised materials and parts. New uranium mines will need to be discovered and opened, old mines will need to be re-opened and expanded. Ultimately, either ocean water uranium or outer space uranium resources will need to be developed and exploited.

A move to Thorium reactors and non-enriched uranium reactors may help take some of the pressure off of supply chains.

Ultimately, fission power using uranium and thorium will only be bridges to longer term energy solutions -- particularly fusion, but also including enhanced geothermal, space-based solar, and advanced bioenergy.



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