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Nuclear energy development not possible in USA, unless it is tax-payer funded?

What Is Holding U.S. Nuclear Energy Back?   OilPrice.com 21 Mar 22

”……….There are three basic business risks associated with nuclear power for an investor-owned utility:  financing, operating, and sales. (Four if you add in new construction risk which is not inconsequential.) The simple reason no US investor-owned utility — apart from Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle—- is building or considering new nuclear investments is the first risk, financing. To paraphrase a former NYC mayoral candidate, the capital costs are “too damn high”. By any metric, nuclear power is economically uncompetitive. According to the recent Lazard study comparing the cost of new power generation, it is about three times more costly than natural gas and five times more costly than new wind and solar.

This begs an obvious question. How can we have more of something if it is wildly, economically uncompetitive? The answer is simple: eliminate the consideration of economics from new power plant development. Take for example a large nuclear construction project at Turkey’s four-unit Akuyu nuclear power station. In the US that is a $40+billion capital project. No US investor-owned utility has the balance sheet to handle multiple unit projects of that size. Only the US government has the borrowing capacity for projects of that magnitude and risk. This, in turn, suggests that new nuclear power plant development will only occur in the US If we compromise on our free enterprise principles and take new nuclear plant development out of the private sector entirely. These enormous financing risks are now impossible to comfortably absorb in a corporate setting where they must be constantly balanced against shareholder interests. ….’

March 22, 2022 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA

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