Monday, January 12, 2009

STUDY PROJECTS HYPER COSTS TO NEW NUCLEAR POWER

Climate Progress - A new study puts the generation costs for power from new nuclear plants at from 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour - triple current U.S. electricity rates!

This staggering price is far higher than the cost of a variety of carbon-free renewable power sources available today - and ten times the cost of energy efficiency.

This important new analysis is being published by Climate Progress because it fills a critical gap in the current debate over nuclear power - transparency.

In a story last week on nuclear power's supposed comeback, Time magazine notes that nuclear plants' capital costs are "out of control," concluding:

Most efficiency improvements have been priced at 1¢ to 3¢ per kilowatt-hour, while new nuclear energy is on track to cost 15¢ to 20¢ per kilowatt-hour. And no nuclear plant has ever been completed on budget.

Time buried that in the penultimate paragraph of the story

Yet even Time's rough estimate is too low.

Some U.S. utilities, primarily in the South, often have less aggressive load reduction programs, and view their region as deficient in renewable energy resources. These utilities are now exploring new nuclear power.

Estimates for new nuclear power place these facilities among the costliest private projects ever undertaken. Utilities promoting new nuclear power assert it is their least costly option. However, independent studies have concluded new nuclear power is not economically competitive.

Given this discrepancy, nuclear's history of cost overruns, and the fact new generation designs have never been constructed anywhere, there is a major business risk nuclear power will be more costly than projected.