I have written before about the obvious shrinking of world demand for uranium in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan. Now, there has been yet another body blow to the industry that many thought would be part of the change-over from fossil fuels to more renewable and less polluting forms of energy, even as a Canadian corporation with the misleading name of Virginia Uranium tries to buy for itself an end to the moratorium in Virginia for uranium mining.
An explosion at a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in France has killed one person, injured at least three others and may have caused radiation to leak from the plant. The explosion occurred at the waste processing center at the Marcoule nuclear plant in southern France near the Côtes-du-Rhône region, which is famous for its tourism, wine, and agriculture. One worker is dead and several others injured.
The Marcoule plant is a center for producing MOX, a mix of uranium and plutonium oxides that is part of the recycling of plutonium. While no radiation leak is being reported at this time, and accepting the fact that this is not a reactor site, the presence of plutonium reprocessing makes any radiation leak even more dangerous.
This will be just another brick in the wall of public disapproval of increasing use of nuclear power generation. Already, Germany has pledged to phase out its use of nuclear, Japan has strong political pressure now for phasing out its use of the technology, and nuclear energy was already an issue in the 2012 presidential election in France before this accident.
Maybe all those Virginia legislators who took a junket to Paris to “view” nuclear mining and those signed up to go to Canada soon, all paid for by Virginia Uranium, might want to take a refresher course in Economics 101. There, they might find information on what happens to demand when a market is in decline. Hint: you can’t sell your crap.