14 March 2011 22:07 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The earthquake and tsunami catastrophe in ?xml:namespace>
Michael Levi, senior fellow on energy and environment at the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), said that a consequence of the threatening melt-down at the
If the already struggling
The availability and cost of domestic natural gas are of critical concern for US petrochemical producers and downstream chemical makers because they are heavily dependent on natgas as a feedstock and/or power fuel.
In addition, as chemical plants are high consumers of electric power, increasing costs for power-generating fuels such as natural gas would further raise their costs of doing business.
“One potential shift in terms of nuclear power prospects could be in the group of US environmentalists who would have compromised on accepting a broader role for nuclear power as part of a broader agreement on climate change policies,” Levi said.
“This [the Japanese nuclear disaster] will make them a lot less comfortable” with that sort of compromise, he said.
The Japanese catastrophe and its nuclear power implications, he said, also could raise new regulatory uncertainty about nuclear energy in the
Levi noted that one of the reasons that the
“This was already making things tough for nuclear power in the
“So if you add anything on top of that,’ he said, meaning the Japan quake and nuclear power plant scare, “the burden on natural gas in the US energy mix becomes more intense, especially if you want to use gas to help manage climate effects.”
He also cited the growing uncertainty about
In the last year or so, federal and state regulators and environmental groups have been raising concerns about the impact of hydraulic fracturing - a drilling technique key to shale gas development - on drinking water supplies.
While even the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has previously found no link between “fracking” and drinking water supplies, growing environmental worries and local opposition could reduce shale gas development just as nuke fears would be putting more demand on domestic
EPA has begun a new, two-year study on the environmental effects of fracking.
Levi said he was certain that the
But he said that the full impact of the
The Council on Foreign Relations is a 90-year-old, nonpartisan think-tank and publisher.
Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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