Over reactor: the economic problems with nuclear power

Energy industries Power resources Nuclear energy Australia
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The fundamental problem facing nuclear power is its high cost. This is widely understood throughout the peer-reviewed literature and several key concerns are presented in this report.

Key points:

  • Nuclear power is far more expensive than other forms of power and has a long history of getting more expensive over time, not less.
  • Nuclear power is slow to build, with the average build time taking a decade, face numerous delays and nearly all facing significant cost blow outs.
  • While renewable energy is booming globally, nuclear power generation is going backwards, nuclear companies are facing distress or bankruptcy, and governments are giving bailouts using taxpayer money. While China is the largest recent source of new reactors, it has not begun building any new nuclear power plants since 2016, and currently generates twice as much power from renewable energy as nuclear power.
  • New nuclear power technologies remain economically speculative; so-called 'Small Modular Reactors' face numerous diseconomies of scale and many analysts doubt their viability.
  • Nuclear power is subject to substantial outages, both planned and unplanned, and does not have the flexibility required for a modern energy grid.
  • In a country prone to extreme heat and prolonged droughts, nuclear power is extremely water intensive and vulnerable to extreme heat.
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