Skip to main content

Should America Build More Nuclear Power Plants?

That's the question that Patrick Kiger at the Science Channel is asking his readers:
So what do you think? Should we build more nuclear power plants? Or should we focus harder on energy conservation and developing solar, wind and geothermal technologies instead?
The short answer, of course, is that we're going to need to build all of those things in order to both meet future demand and to maintain a diverse energy mix that promotes security of supply. There's plenty more, and I encourage our readers to stop by and let Kiger and the Science Channel community know what we think about the issue.


Gunter said…
Well, maybe not...

AP reports the plan for an Idaho nuclear plant was scuttled based on the economics of building a nuclear plant--a cost projection that is steadily rising even before the first shovel goes in the ground.

Similarly, the same unpredictable cost tag of construction has put the screeching breaks on Scana Corp.'s (South Carolina Electric & Gas) plan to submit an application to NRC. Rather than needing to squirrel away $1.5 to $2.5 billion, the projected price tag has jumped to $6 to $9 billion per unit.

Again, Moody's is saying there is no way to predict the sticker shock.
David Bradish said…

I guess you missed my post last week on how construction commodities such as steel and concrete have increased dramatically in price over the past several years. If you had read it you would have found that these price increases are affecting all new power plants and not just new nuclear plants.

According to Platts' Nuclear News Flash last Friday, here's SCANA's explanation for the cancellation:

"We're still very pro-nuclear," he said. "We're just taking a step back and pausing." He cited the rising costs of construction, particularly materials such as steel and concrete, as the reason for the company's hesitancy. He
acknowledged, however, that the increasing cost of materials was "going up across the industry."

Industry meaning power industry.
America should build more nuclear power plants, at the same time developing renewable power like wind and solar, for both of those will be needed if you want to keep the growing economy running.
Gunter said…
I guess Wall Street missed your post as well.
David Bradish said…
No they didn't. Check out page 9 from Moody's October 2007 report - New Nuclear Generation in the U.S.:

Dramatic increases in commodity prices over the recent past, exacerbated by a skilled labor shortage, have led to significant increases in the over-all cost estimates for major construction projects around the world. In the case of new nuclear, the very detailed specifications for forgings and other critical components for the construction process can add a new element of complexity and uncertainty. As noted previously, labor is in
short supply and commodity costs have been extremely volatile. Most importantly, the commodities and world wide supply chain network associated with new nuclear projects are also being called upon to build other generation facilities, including coal as well as nuclear, nationally and internationally. Nuclear operators are also competing with major oil, petrochemical and steel companies for access to these resources, and thus represent a challenge to all major construction projects.

NIRS is the only one who's missing it.
Gunter said…
To the contrary... you cite a few of the reasons why Wall Street is not bullish on "Should America Build More Nuclear Power Plants?"

Again, it takes governments, not markets to build nuclear power.
Anonymous said…
Wind will never be the answer to America's energy issues...neither will water....unless you are talking about the chemical reaction with water. Nuclear is the way to go. It provides the most power, the quickest, and most efficiently. We cant perdict steel and concrete prices. Build now ask questions later. Remember we nee Plutonium reactors at some point as the supply of uranium is limited as fossil fuels. Many people dont realize that some alternative energy sources produce WAY more CO2 than fossil fuels.

Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…