Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2020
According to an August 18 report by Moody’s Investors Service, “over half” of US nuclear reactor generating capacity “face growing credit risks” in the next 10 to 20 years due to flooding, hurricanes, heat stress and other predicted impacts of climate change.
“The consequences of climate change can affect every aspect … from fuel handling and power and steam generation to maintenance, safety systems and waste processing,” the report said.
The highest risk or “red flag” category includes reactor sites that are “highly exposed to historical and/or projected risks,” Moody’s said. The report gives five nuclear stations the red flag because of potential floods. Another 13 reactor sites got redflags for heat stress. The threat of windstorms, sea-level rise, and water stress each put one reactor complex in the red flag category, because “proximity of power plants to large bodies of water leaves them vulnerable to flooding, hurricanes, and storm surges, which increases the risk of damage,” Moody’s said.
The simultaneous risks of earthquakes and tsunamis, such as devastated Fukushima-Daiichi in Japan in 2011, were not assessed in the report.