Meltdown

In the 10 years since the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, the number of nuclear power plants under construction has dropped from 160 to only 34. (Many of these are in energy-starved developing countries; in the United States, it has been 18 years since a construction order was placed for a nuclear plant.) Nuclear power is still being promoted aggressively by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, by some governments, and by the industry itself. But Lenssen and Flavin argue that despite this industrial inertia, nuclear power is no longer a viable energy strategy anywhere in the world. The demise of the nuclear option is a tremendous opportunity for renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar. Even in the face of continued heavy subsidies for nuclear, renewables are booming. The challenge now is to bring government investment priorities into line with the new energy reality.