Countries like China, India, Russia and South Korea abandoning their nuclear plans in reaction to the Japanese disaster would make fossil fuels “enormously” more expensive, Scotiabank said on Monday.
Economics VP Patricia Mohr added that the Fukushima-Daiichi event will likely delay rather than derail the nuclear renaissance.
There could be a partial shift from atomic energy to natural gas over the medium-term in Japan, the US and Europe, but nuclear expansion will have to go ahead.
“China, India, South Korea and Russia - the major growth markets for nuclear energy, which had planned to add 105,2 GWe of nuclear power or 66% of the world total prior to the incident – will almost certainly move ahead with significant nuclear expansion,” Mohr said in a statement.
“Not to do so would enormously raise the cost of fossil fuels (oil, liquefied natural gas and steam coal) for consumers worldwide in the coming decade and limit the containment of greenhouse gas emissions.”
This reinforces what executives from uranium producers and developers have been insisting since the explosions first began at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant, located on Japan’s eastern seaboard.
An official at the State-owned China National Nuclear Corp, the country’s biggest nuclear operator, said at the weekend that the Japanese crisis should not affect the country’s nuclear ambitions.
"China should not change its development plan in the nuclear power sector," China Daily quoted director of the Science and Technology Commission Pan Ziqiang as saying.
On Monday, Reuters reported that highly radioactive water has leaked from a reactor at Fukushima-Daiichi.
“Perhaps the more lasting impact of the incident at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power plant, a 40-year old facility with some outdated technology, will be to trigger a re-examination of nuclear safety procedures and reactor technologies around the world and to slow the development of nuclear power," said Mohr.
“Overall, the Fukushima-Daiichi event will likely delay rather than derail the nuclear renaissance,” she added.