The recent explosions at the Japanese nuclear power plant at Fukushima, resulting from Tsunami devastation during the past few days and with more bad news likely to follow, are bound to have a major impact on the global nuclear power industry, including India.
At the turn of the century, analysts had begun to talk of a possible "nuclear renaissance".
This was spurred by the rising costs of fossil fuels, concerns over climate change resulting from carbon-intensive energy use and helped by receding public memories of the nuclear disasters at Three Mile Island in the US (1979) and at Chernobyl in Ukraine (1986).
Taking into account the time lag associated with construction, the global nuclear power industry grew from 1 GW (Giga Watt) only in 1960 to 100 GW by 1980, 300 GW by 1990, but only 360 GW by 2005.
The slowdown in later years has been attributed to mounting project costs and to concerns over safety.
Image: Tokyo Electric Co. employees in charge of public relations use a photo of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex to explain the situation during a press conference Wednesday.
Text: Shyam Saran, Business Standard
The author is a former foreign secretary and currently senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research