Tiny Switzerland (population 7 million) is speaking with a loud voice, and its anti-nuclear demonstrators are being heard across the world. The country has decided to place a permanent ban on the building of new nuclear facilities as the fallout (metaphorical) from the March earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in Japan continues to spread worldwide.
If your company supplies components or is a contractor to the nuclear industry then you need to take urgent steps expand your market and sales targets outside that sector. To state the obvious, the global nuclear industry is under siege, and there are indications the flood of negative press is certain to grow as the anti-nuclear forces rack up wins across the world.
Switzerland joined the growing list of nations declining to issue permits for new nuclear facilities this week. Acceding to pressure from opponents of nuclear energy, the country's government said it would allow the five reactors it now operates to serve out their estimated life spans, with the last expected to cease operations by 2034.
This was a major coup for the anti-nuclear forces, considering Switzerland currently generates 40 percent of its energy needs from nuclear plants. What will replace this? The government doesn't yet have an answer but it is urgently searching for one.
That's where the electronics industry comes in. Rather than fight what is a gathering storm of anti-nuclear sentiment, high-tech companies and their component suppliers should instead be focusing their resources on finding ways to make the alternate power industry even more viable and profitable. While the Swiss example may appear extreme, the reality is that across the world opposition to nuclear energy is reaching boiling point (metaphorical).
The March Japan disaster has only fueled the opposition. Other countries have indicated they would either curb the growth of the nuclear industry or have issued statements indicating tighter regulation of the market. That means fewer reactors will be built. Individual opposition to nuclear energy is also growing, with many communities in the West fighting hard to ensure reactors are not situated close to them.
In Japan itself, the government has indicated a firm and understandable shift away from nuclear energy. It now wants to generate as much as 20 percent of the country's power need from “green energy.” Japan has paid dearly for its use of nuclear energy, which contributes about one-third of national power needs. The Fukushima disaster is still unfolding, and the populace wants assurances it's not going to experience another tragedy of this proportion.
That's why the anti-nuclear movement is gaining steam (metaphorical) worldwide. That's why sales of components heading into the sector will continue to fall off. That's also why sales of “green” components will be gaining strength. Do you play in green?