There's More Money in Nukes Than In Samurai Swords

That is why after World War II, Japan Steel added nuclear reactor vessels to its product lineup. They mixed their ancient experience in swords with more recent cannon technology to become the sole source for reactor forgings at $350 million a pop. But like a sword, it takes time and care, and they can only turn out four of them per year, in a market where there is now demand for as many as ten per year.

"I find it just amazing that so many people jumped on the bandwagon of this renaissance without ever looking at the industrial side of it,'' said one consultant. ::Bloomberg

Meanwhile, the builders of CANDU reactors must be celebrating.

The designers back in the fifties did not have the technology to build the pressure vessel either, so they opted for a system of tubes made of zircaloy instead of a giant pot. Unfortunately, the tubes deteriorated from neutron bombardment more quickly than originally anticipated, so many of the CANDU reactors have been shut down for very expensive retubing.

So everyone who is waiting for a nuclear renaissance to deliver carbon-free power is going have to wait a little bit longer.

Tags: Alternative Energy | Japan

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