TIME Magazine comes in with an honest analysis of nuclear power
………But some little-noticed rain has fallen on the nuclear parade. It turns out that new plants would be not just extremely expensive but spectacularly expensive. The first detailed cost estimate, filed by Florida Power & Light (FPL) for a large plant off the Keys, came in at a shocking $12 billion to $18 billion. Progress Energy announced a $17 billion plan for a similar Florida plant, tripling its estimate in just a year. "Completely mind-boggling," says Charlie Beck, who represents ratepayers for Florida's Office of Public Counsel. "A real wake-up call," says Dale Klein, President Bush's chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC
The math gets ugly in a hurry. McCain called for 45 new plants by 2030; given the nuclear industry's history of 250% cost overruns, that could rise to well over $1 trillion. Ratepayers would take the main hit, but taxpayers could be on the hook for billions in loan guarantees, tax breaks, insurance benefits and direct subsidies--not to mention the problem of storing radioactive waste, if Congress can ever figure out where to put it.
This sticker shock has unnerved Wall Street. A Warren Buffett--owned company has scrapped plans for an Idaho nuclear plant; banks and bond-rating agencies are skeptical as well. In fact, renewables attracted $71 billion globally in private capital during 2007 while nukes got zero. The reactors under construction around the world are ALL Government financed "I have to keep explaining: France and China are not capitalist countries!" says Congressman Ed Markey, an antinuclear Massachusetts Democrat. “ Nobody wants to put their own Money into this so-called renaissance – JUST OURS”
Meanwhile, radioactive waste languishes in temporary storage pools and casks at plants around the country. (No clean=up cost has ever been forecast.F)
So how should we produce our juice? The answer may sound a bit unsatisfying: more wind, less coal but mostly the same electricity sources we're using, until something better comes along. The key will be reducing demand through energy efficiency and conservation. 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.
Now that's an unsatisfying answer--especially since we'll be paying the bills. End of excerpts.
Thank you TIME. Next time maybe you dare to tell us about all the spills, the unplanned shut-downs due to equipment failures and operator error, the shortage of cooling water for future reactors , the damaging effects to aquatic life and human health, and more….