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Nuclear power – it’s just not cost effective

nuclear-costs1Activists See U.S. Nuclear Industry Starting to Crumble By Matthew Charles Cardinale ATLANTA, Georgia, Jun 27 2013 (IPS) -“……. The costs of nuclear power According to Mark Cooper, a senior research fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, history has proved that nuclear power is not economical.

The industry likes to say once you build them, they just hum along and they’re cash cows, producing low cost electricity, and then the industry takes that claim and uses that as a pillar [on which] they try to build the case for new nuclear reactors,” Cooper told IPS.

The nuclear industry maintains that once construction is complete, plants are inexpensive to operate and “last forever”, according to Cooper.

“The reality of old reactors does not support those claims,” he argued, and “the construction costs for new nuclear reactors go through the roof.”

He said one-fifth of reactors built before 2013 that received commercial licenses have retired early and called the 60-year life span of reactors “inconsistent with reality”.

“When [reactors] age, they have the tendency of being more and more costly to keep online,” he added. “When they break, they are too expensive to fix,” he said, citing over two dozen reactors that have closed down for those reasons.

Subsidised construction

In his speech on global warming earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama pointed to nuclear reactors under construction in Georgia and South Carolina as examples of new clean energy supported by his administration.

As reported by IPS in 2008, Obama has long been supportive of – and received campaign contributions from – the nuclear industry, beginning with his term in the U.S. Senate.

However, through charges applied to their monthly energy bills, taxpayers in Georgia and South Carolina are shelling out in advance to heavily subsidise nuclear projects in those states, even as Georgia Power and Scana are guaranteed profits because of decisions made by their legislatures and public service commissions.

“At the great pain imposed on ratepayers in Georgia and South Carolina, they can finish those reactors,” Cooper said, but “those reactors will tell us nothing about building another one because they are so incredibly subsidised.”

He believed that other states would not adopt such an approach that shifts risk to taxpayers, predicting, “Summer in South Carolina and Vogtle in Georgia will be monuments for folly, not launch points for the future.”


June 28, 2013 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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