A spectre is haunting the nuclear industry: the spectre of anti-nuclear movements. While nuclear fission attracted dissent from the time of its inception, Fukushima is turning out to be a complete game-changer. In countries like Germany, anti-nuclear history is being written by hundreds of thousands of people hitting the streets in ongoing protests against the world’s most controversial source of energy.
India’s nuclear establishment has so far tried to dismiss these anti-nuclear sentiments as a European peculiarity without any relevance to India. But a closer look shows that the nuclear industry could, in fact, be sailing into stormy waters worldwide. Apart from already existing problems, growing local resistance and anti-nuclear public pressure could massively push up capital and financing costs for new nuclear power plants. If, at the same time, governments can’t politically afford to continue their massive nuclear subsidies, the situation could reach a financial tipping point that could halt the current nuclear renaissance.