Slashing the Atom

If the nuclear power industry is headed into a renaissance, it’s going to need the help of a renowned Japanese samurai sword maker. It turns out Japan Steel Works Ltd., in addition to hand-forging swords, also has a near-total monopoly on the manufacture of the steel containment vessels for nuclear reactors.

But making the vessels is more of an art than a science, and Japan Steel’s production line currently tops off at four complete reactor vessels a year. With ten new nuke plants starting construction every year, that means the reactor vessels, which start as 600 tons of solid steel, are on back order until 2015.

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  1. Sean P. says:

    Sounds like a prime time to enter the containment unit market. Anyone want to invest in my new venture?

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  2. Lyn LeJeune says:

    Oh, great! Does that mean we don’t have to worry about complete annihilation until 2015? If so, I’m going to go ahead a save my rebate check and accept the date from the guy three cubicles away.
    Hey, anything is possible now!

    Lyn LeJeune
    http://www.beatitudesinneworleans.blogspot.com
    come help New Orleans and get a free book!

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  3. Stranger. F says:

    Soon my friends, earth will be or be not be… probably be but we not be!

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  4. Michael Lin says:

    “Oh, great! Does that mean we don’t have to worry about complete annihilation until 2015?”
    Nuclear power is very safe and environmentally friendly.

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  5. J says:

    I’m glad people are coming around to the usefulness of nuclear energy. The attacks on it have been roundly proven wrong, or manageable risks miniscule in comparison to alternatives we currently use (e.g. coal). It’s sad to still see people irrationally fearful of nuclear power, but I suppose that’s to be expected with the rampant misconceptions about it. If only US science education was stronger.

    Regardless, looks like there’s a rich market opportunity here since demand is only going to be headed up for at least the next decade.

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  6. Matt says:

    That seems quite odd. Even for a niche market, if it’s a product that valuable shouldn’t there be other companies stepping in to claim a share?

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  7. Nick says:

    Not so fast, Lyn. Man-made global warming will probably get you before then. If only there were some kind of energy source that didn’t contribute to man-made global warming…ah well, I give up.

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  8. Andy says:

    Interesting. One more example of how the many ideas to releive our dependence on oil and reduce CO2 emissions suffers from bottlenecks due to inadequacies in productive capacity.

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