Official nuclear energy policy in the Western countries with little investments and continuously changing requirements has, with time, pushed into bankruptcy most of the major actors. The only left suppliers are GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, which is on the verge of bankruptcy and has been in this status for quite some time, and Areva which produces the bloated and expensive EPR. There are some smaller actors, but they are eternally locked in the study phase, they have no commercial scale proposals.

As a result the Russian state company Rosatom has become the world's major supplier of services and plants with many currently under construction. Trouble is that this is power, but not just electrical power, it is also political power, this situation gives Russia a lot of leverage in addition to the more publicised leverage they get from gas supplies. Moreover, they have this leverage also in a few NATO countries and it keeps growing since Hungary recently approved the extension of their only nuclear power plant. It is difficult to blame Hungary since they had little choice, but it means that the Russians will have under direct control for decades almost half of the electricity supplied to Hungary in addition to oil and gas supplies.

Adding to the loss of political leverage there is even the loss of the ability to influence future technologies. While generation IV reactors are becoming like nuclear fusion, the eternal promise that will never be fulfilled the world is stuck with the PWR technology that produces a lot of nuclear waste. So even from this point of view the overall impact seems negative.

Did the Western world choose a nuclear energy policy that totally backfired or am I only seeing the negative aspects of the situation?

  • 5
    This is an opinion-based question.
    – user366312
    Aug 30 at 13:50
  • 3
    Western nuclear "policy" has been a mess for the last 4 decades so that an easy yes. Not sure it is policy in the sense of being government/top-driven, as much as grassroots/Greens-driven. Also not sure the Russians are the prime gainers, China seems to be: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_China Which is reassuring, given Russia's engineering execution skills. Aug 30 at 15:39
  • 2
    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica That is not correct, China has bought many different types of power plants from suppliers from all over the world. Now they are slowly developing their on technology, but they are still behind. For the moment they are aping elements that were developed 30 years ago and mixing them with the modern technology that is publicly available.
    – FluidCode
    Aug 30 at 15:44
  • 1
    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica What is sure is that Russia is building a lot of plants that will guarantee them some political leverage for decades. If then that political leverage passes to China it might create even more problems for the Western countries.
    – FluidCode
    Aug 30 at 16:30
  • 5
    Ehh, not going to VTC this, but what kind of answer do you see here? (1) bad if they actually plan to compete on this market or use much nuclear power themselves (2) indifferent if their (pipe?) dream of relying only on renewables pans out. Is there anything else to say?
    – Fizz
    Aug 30 at 17:53


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