Don't Expect A Nuclear Power Renaissance

Maybe it’s not an environmental, but economic problem that will stop nuclear power from enjoying a renaissance in the United States:

WSJ: A new nuclear plant costs too much to compete with natural gas or coal. Opponents of the industry have successfully argued that nuclear is too mature a technology to receive new government incentives. Legislation aimed at building up alternatives to fossil fuels has largely left nuclear out in the cold. Some funds from the economic stimulus are also going to develop expensive and unproven technology to capture and store carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Still, the nuclear rebirth is likely only delayed, not canceled. Federal funding is already available to build a handful of new reactors by the middle of the next decade. The Obama administration also aims to put a price on emissions, which would raise the cost of power from coal and gas relative to nuclear.

…The 26 proposed nuclear plants are for now an industry wish list. Nuclear plants are expensive – Progress Energy Inc. (PGN) recently estimated that two new reactors outside Tampa will cost $7 billion each. Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) plans to spend $1.8 billion to build a coal plant near Charlotte to produce nearly as much as one reactor.


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