- Nuclear Energy
- US-Korea Nuclear Roundtable
Shale gas has had a profound impact on the US energy landscape. The emergence of hydraulic fracturing technologies, the availability of large water resources, and the existence of an expansive natural gas pipeline infrastructure have unlocked vast domestic resources of shale hydrocarbons, thereby dramatically reducing the cost of natural gas. Accordingly, the market price for electricity generation has dropped, decreasing profit margins for nuclear generation in the US. While a similar phenomenon can hypothetically take place in Asia, a number of broad factors may serve to limit the impact of an Asian shale gas revolution. Less developed natural gas pipeline infrastructures, increased seismic activity and risk, greater geological uncertainties, and the relative lack of water resources in certain regions make it difficult for countries such as China and India to fully tap into their recoverable shale resources. While the US is poised to ultimately export its shale gas and countries like Japan and Korea can benefit from cheaper LNG imports as a result, nuclear generation will likely remain cost competitive even with decreased LNG costs. While cheaper LNG may cause some countries in Asia to retain smaller inventories of nuclear fuel, it would not fundamentally change nuclear deployment plans already in place. The future of nuclear power in Asia is more likely to be impacted by regulatory, environmental, and nuclear safety policies rather than the changes in the economics of natural gas.