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Revival of the nuclear industry too costly

(USA) Fortunately, there are viable alternatives to nuclear power, including efficiency, wind, biomass and geothermal, which are not only more environmentally friendly and cheaper, but could be built much more quickly and at much lower risk to investors and taxpayers. And recent changes in the long-term outlook for U.S. natural gas supplies make nuclear power look even more uneconomical.

Nuclear Power: Too Costly to Revive Is nuclear power a solution we can afford? The short answer is no.

GreenTech Media Elliott Negin 01 21 10

“…..Even discounting nuclear power’s security and safety problems, the cost of construction could be the industry’s Achilles’ heel…….the industry has benefited from considerable federal and state government subsidies that mask the true cost of the technology, including staggering capital costs and the risk of catastrophic accidents, by shifting these burdens onto taxpayers and ratepayers. The industry is now seeking to shift even more costs and risks onto the public as part of pending climate and energy legislation. In 2005, Congress authorized $60 billion in loan guarantees for new energy technologies. Of that amount, the Department of Energy (DOE) allocated $18.5 billion for new nuclear plants. But the industry wants more — a lot more. The Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s lobbying arm, says it needs a “permanent financing platform” to provide the industry a minimum of $100 billion in additional loan guarantees on top of the billions it already has been allocated.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the industry proposed to build some 200 plants, but as construction costs escalated, only about half were finished. Taxpayers and ratepayers were left footing the bill — about $300 billion in today’s dollars — for abandoned plants, cost overruns for completed plants, and stranded investments that were higher than the wholesale market price for power. No energy company has ordered a new plant since 1978, and all plants ordered after 1973 were cancelled.

In 1985, Forbes magazine called the debacle “the largest managerial disaster in business history,”…..based on the industry’s financial track record, the Government Accountability Office estimated that the average risk of default on a federal loan guarantee for nuclear plant construction is 50 percent……

Fortunately, there are viable alternatives to nuclear power, including efficiency, wind, biomass and geothermal, which are not only more environmentally friendly and cheaper, but could be built much more quickly and at much lower risk to investors and taxpayers. And recent changes in the long-term outlook for U.S. natural gas supplies make nuclear power look even more uneconomical.
The potential price tag of yet another public bailout of the nuclear industry would dwarf the previous ones. Congress should think twice about putting hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars at risk to underwrite a new generation of costly reactors that Wall Street and even the industry itself are unwilling to finance on their own. The power source that was once promised to be “too cheap to meter” may now be too costly to revive. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/nuclear-power-too-costly-to-revive/

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January 22, 2010 - Posted by | business and costs, USA | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Revival of the nuclear industry too costly nuclear-news Fortunately, there are viable alternatives to nuclear power, including efficiency, wind, biomass and geothermal, which are not only more environmentally friendly and cheaper, but could be built much more quickly and at much lower risk to investors an […]

    Pingback by kjmhoffman | October 21, 2012 | Reply


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