[EDITORIALS]Reassess nuclear energyWestinghouse, a company that commands half of the nuclear power plant construction market, will be taken over by the Japanese company Toshiba. The sale price of the U.S. company exceeded predictions by two times as it came to $5.4 billion. The amount seems to reflect the increasing potential of the nuclear power plant market. Looking at recent trends, this should be clear. Russia, Iran and Venezuela have made no secret of their nationalistic plans in regard to their natural resources as the price of fossil fuel has skyrocketed. The United States and China, which are energy-importing countries, have turned their eyes to nuclear power as an alternative. The rush of construction of nuclear power plants can’t be avoided.
Why nuclear power? The International Energy Agency predicts that the consumption of fossil fuels will increase by 50 percent in 2030. The Kyoto Agreement on climate change that is expected to come into effect in a year also makes it harder to rely just on fossil fuels. A new energy source has to come from somewhere. The best and cleanest method is to save energy but there is a limit to that. Substitute energy sources such as bio fuel, solar energy or using the velocity of the wind to generate power are still methods with a long way to go, while still being expensive. The reality makes it hard not to look at the nuclear power alternative.
The United States has devised a plan that outlines the resumption of building nuclear power plants for the first time in 32 years, and for the reprocessing of nuclear fuel. This is a strong move to battle high oil prices. It’s similar to Europe which has been feeling the strain since Russia stopped supplying natural gas. Germany and Italy have turned their direction toward building nuclear power plants. China is also planning to build 30 nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plants have been reevaluated as a means of survival and new national strategies.
Our country currently has 20 nuclear power plants. Nuclear power accounts for 38 percent of our total energy source. Last year, the long-standing issue of selecting a site to process nuclear waste was settled. Nevertheless, we should not be indifferent to the global movement towards nuclear power. Our energy independence stands only at three percent. As long as we have to depend heavily on oil from the Middle East there will be always be anxiety in our economy.
Above all, the view of environmental civic organizations towards nuclear power plants needs to be changed. There is no need to present an argument for the economic efficiency or energy security of nuclear power. Scandinavia is known as an environmental utopia and one has to ask why Finland, also environmentally cautious, is actively engaged in building nuclear power plants. The current trend in the global village is to scrap criticism and look at reality. Due to the issue of global warming, nuclear energy, which releases little gas, is being acknowledged in a new light. Our environmental groups needs to get rid of their one-sided arguments. While we are involved in exhaustive debate, nuclear power is again becoming the focus in other parts of the world.