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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Despite Republicans’ electoral success, nuclear power industry’s future in USA looking grim

Nationwide, ground has been broken for just four reactors, two twin-unit nuclear plants since the 1970s……both are in locations that are insulated from the market, in Georgia and South Carolina. In both locations, the business risk rests with the ratepayers, not with the shareholders…….

G.O.P. Gains on Capitol Hill May Not Advance Nuclear Power, NYTimes.com, By MATTHEW L. WALD, November 16, 2010 WASHINGTON THE outspoken supporters of nuclear power are mostly Republicans, and the Republicans are about to take control of the House of Representatives and gain six seats in the Senate. Is this good news for nuclear power?

Maybe. But the outlook for a new wave of reactors is still mixed at best….
the party dislikes something that the nuclear industry needs: global warming rules. Republican progress in the midterm elections probably dooms prospects for a cap-and-trade system on carbon dioxide emissions for now.

A price of, say, $20 a ton on carbon emissions would give coal-fired power plants a handicap of about 2 cents a kilowatt-hour and natural gas-fired plants about a penny a kilowatt-hour, large sums for a commodity that sells for an average of 10 cents a kilowatt-hour. Under such a system, nuclear power would face no charges.

And while various Republicans may want to see reactors built, the government does not build them; private companies do.

“The business environment is a principal driver in what the future of nuclear energy is in the United States,” Alex Flint, the senior vice president for government affairs at the industry’s trade association, the Nuclear Energy Institute, said recently. …………
“With natural gas prices as suppressed as they are, what kind of revenues can you pledge to lenders where the marginal price of electricity is set by gas?”“It’s almost unfinanceable in today’s environment,” he said. “I don’t see how the election changes that for good or ill.”

Another indication that the problem may be beyond the powers of Congress comes from Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear reactor operator, which is not planning any new reactors now….

Nationwide, ground has been broken for just four reactors, two twin-unit nuclear plants since the 1970s……both are in locations that are insulated from the market, in Georgia and South Carolina. In both locations, the business risk rests with the ratepayers, not with the shareholders…….

G.O.P. Gains May Not Advance Nuclear Power – NYTimes.com

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November 18, 2010 - Posted by | business and costs, USA | , , , , , ,

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