Analyses show nuclear is 'least cost option' for generation of new baseload electricity
NucNet - analyses in several US states show that new reactor units will be the “least cost option” for new generation, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said this week in response to a study The Economics of Nuclear Power: Renaissance or Relapse? by Mark Cooper, who is identified as a senior fellow for economic analysis with the Institute for Energy and Environment at the Vermont Law School.
NEI - Vermont Law study is biased
The nuclear industry trade group couched its response in measured phrases, but the real message is, more or less, Cooper is blowing smoke.
Among claims arising from the study, published earlier this month, was that actual cost estimates for proposed reactors is some four times higher than industry projections from less than 10 years ago.
However, the NEI said the study presented a “biased view” of the overall picture in the US. In a detailed response, the NEI said:
“Based on studies by the energy companies contemplating building new reactors and independent analyses, new nuclear power plants are expected to produce electricity at competitive prices. New nuclear plants in some markets may be one of the most cost-effective ways of generating electricity in a carbon-constrained world.
“Contrary to the study’s finding that ‘nuclear power cannot stand on its own two feet in the marketplace’, nuclear energy is expected to be among the most economic sources of electricity … New nuclear reactors have been affirmed as the least cost option for new generation by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia.
“The analyses supporting the PSC reviews found nuclear to be cost competitive with other forms of baseload generation in addition to helping to address climate change.”
NEI White Paper on nuclear plant costs
A paper by the NEI, which provides a survey of cost information for new nuclear and coal-based generating capacity and summarizes recent analyses of the comparative economics of new electric generating capacity is on the NEI’s website
The study by Cooper is on the web site of the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School. In fact Mr. Cooper’s relationship with the law school may be tenuous according to Charles Barton at NuclearGreen.
Here’s his real bio - Mark Cooper is director of research at the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) where he has responsibility for energy, telecommunications, and economic policy analysis. The rest of his bio reveals a sterling educational pedigree, but as previously noted on this blog, even smart guys can be wrong.
Where there’s smoke there’s fire
BTW, in another case where smart guys are wrong, at least about nuclear physics, Ralph Nadar, who helped organized CFA, has been outspoken in his opposition to smoke detectors which use tiny amounts of Americium 241. Encased in plastic, the alpha emitter poses no risk to anyone unless you break the thing open with a hammer and try to eat it. The World Nuclear Association has the real 411 on the safe use of this isotope.
Mr. Cooper’s study has been called “biased” by NEI, but in the case of Ralph Nader and smoke detectors, the American Nuclear Society (ANS) makes it clear why they recommend use of the Americium 241 model. Here are the facts.
The ionization smoke detector uses a tiny bit of radioactive americium-241, a source of alpha radiation. An air-filled space between two electrodes creates a chamber that permits a small, constant current to flow between the electrodes. If smoke or heat enters the chamber, the electric current between the electrodes is interrupted and the alarm is triggered.
This smoke alarm is less expensive than other designs and improves the original smoke alarm by measuring more than the heat of a fire. It can detect particles of smoke too small to be visible.
Finally, hats off to the Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society which each year gives away hundreds of smoke detectors to families in Idaho which otherwise could not afford them.
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