What a really poor investment looks like

Recently, the congress and the Obama administration has approved what could be up to $225 million in federal funding for a new generation of reactor design called Small Modular Reactors.  I’ve completed a blog post called Small is Ugly on SMRs while researching it i came across a report which is worth it’s own blog post.

Nuclear Power: Still not viable without subsidies is a 146 page report that you can download.  But let me save most of you the work by giving you this key disturbing statistic which comes up in the first few pages of this pretty accessible document.  There is also this excellent summary by Union of Concerned Scientists.

Between 1960 and 2009 the total subsidy for nuclear power plants in the US works out to US$ 0.072/kwh which is 140% of the wholesale cost of all the nuclear generated electricity during that period.

In other words, the amount of money the government has paid for these reactors to exist and operate exceeds significantly the value of the electricity they produced.

Put even more simply, from an economics perspective we would be way ahead if we had never build these reactors at all.  The money was wasted.

This is what a poor investment looks like

The author  of this 2011 report for the Union of Concerned Scientists is Doug Koplow.  He has been working on energy subsides for 20 years and has an MBA from Harvard.

So i went to the NEI blog.  This is where the nuclear lobby takes on its critics.  Amory Lovins, Helen Caldicott, Paul Gunter and their work all gets attacked here.  Not a word about Doug Koplow or this report.

industry and government refuse to read the business press on nuclear

The Economist tells us that the energy which was once billed as “too cheap to meter” is really “too expensive to matter.”

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

6 responses to “What a really poor investment looks like”

  1. rabbitmentor says :

    I am editing out all the swear words regarding Obama’s nuclear policies. I am not advocating tying this report to a rock and throwing it through the window at GE Nuclear in San Jose or any other nuclear location. Thanks for the link and the info; now let’s see if we can use it!

  2. Martin Kral says :

    Obama paid off his renewable buddies in the last four years, now it is time to pay off his nuclear buddies in the next four years. Unfortunately, his nuke buddies have the wrong reactor design.

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