Nuclear power is no substitute for oil

A petroleum worker walks through a Libyan oil refinery in Al Brega, Libya. Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa and petroleum exports account for 95 percent of the country's export earnings.

JEREMY HOBSON: Now let's get the domestic picture with Juli Niemann. She's an analyst for Smith Moore and Company. She joins us live from St. Louis. Good morning, Juli.

JULI NIEMANN: Good morning.

HOBSON: So you just heard Rob's report from Japan. What about here in the U.S.? What economic effects of this disaster so far?

NIEMANN: Well, it's a four letter word -- Risk. And that's the key thing that everybody's running from right now. The market moved past rioting, revolution and recession, but now there's fear that Japan's situation will pull us all back into recession again. And of course leading the market lower is General Electric. Big risk there. Everybody feels because they had six reactors all manufactured by GE, but there is no liability there. But the future of the nuclear industry and the demand for reactors is likely to drop off here after 30 years of attempting to work off Three Mile Island. So a big risk to the nuclear industry.

HOBSON: But, Juli we heard last year after the BP oil spill that that was going to be a game changer for the oil industry and deep water drilling. And it doesn't appear that that was the case. Do you really think that the nuclear industry is at risk here?

NIEMANN: Well, the big ticker here is there is no substitute for oil. Basically the rest of the world runs on it. It's in manufacturing, it's in virtually every generation. There is a substitute for nuclear. And we've had a 30-year delay and in all likelihood we're going to see more delay here. Will it kill the nuclear industry? No. But it's certainly going to delay it again. There is no substitute for oil and that will continue to have big demand.

HOBSON: Juli Niemann, analyst at Smith Moore and Company, thanks as always for your time.

NIEMANN: You bet.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.


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