Rising gas prices induce the West to pay more attention to nuclear power plants (NPPs) once again, Dr. Nils Diaz, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told RIA Novosti. Dr. Diaz is presiding over an international conference involving chiefs of G8 nuclear-safety administrations.
The advantages of nuclear energy, i.e. high NPP capacity, independent sources, minimal fallout and stable prices, were known before; we knew all that in the past, Dr. Diaz added. However, the West preferred gas all of a sudden; gas has become very expensive nowadays, he went on to say. Consequently, nuclear energy is once again becoming quite popular with the G8, Dr. Diaz noted.
In his words, the directors of G8 nuclear-safety administrations have never met in line with this format and at such high level before. This highlights the fact that G8 countries are paying serious attention to physical and technical protection of nuclear facilities, Dr. Diaz stressed.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has extended the licenses of all 38 NPPs operating on U.S. territory. All these NPPs have been overhauled.
It takes $100 million to extend an average NPP's service life by 20 years; meanwhile a new NPP would cost an impressive $1.5 billion, Dr. Diaz noted.
Andrei Malyshev in charge of Russia's nuclear-safety service noted that the United States, Russia, Canada and France intended to develop their respective nuclear power industries. Moreover, their specialists are now building Third World NPPs.
For their own part, Italy, Great Britain and Germany have renounced NPPs, Malyshev went on to say.
The first NPP was commissioned in Russia; the nuclear power industry is marking its 50th anniversary this year, Malyshev said. Let's wait and see; quite possibly, other G8 countries will decide to expand their respective nuclear power industries, he noted in conclusion.