Nuclear energy has faced no shortage of obstacles over the past several years, although the biggest threat to date has been economics. Existing facilities have struggled to compete with cheap natural gas — which can be turned on and off to respond to grid demand — and subsidized wind power — which sends electricity to the grid no matter what. However, reactors could become more competitive soon. Exelon managed to win Zero Emission Credits for nuclear generation in the states of Illinois and New York, while Pennsylvania may be next. Meanwhile, the handful of new reactors in various stages of construction have been mired in costly budget overruns and delays, an unfortunate side effect of America’s lack of investment and nurturing of nuclear technology and institutional knowledge in the last 50 years. We literally don’t even know how to build nuclear reactors anymore. But economics may no longer be the biggest threat. A series of recently uncovered cyberattacks hint that hacking may be a worrisome new risk for existing nuclear reactors.
Madison 9th Aug 2017 read more »