Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nuclear Power Too Expensive

“Progress Energy [Florida] tripled its estimate for its new nuclear power plant in Levy County, saying Monday that the new price is $17-billion.

The utility paid more than $80-million for 5,200 acres in Levy County, about 10 miles north of its Crystal River power plant. It plans to build two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, with a capacity of 1,100 megawatts each.

Despite [the utility company’s] assurances, the new price could leave some with sticker shock. The number will reverberate throughout the Southeast, where at least five similar projects have been announced. Utilities have said that surging prices for commodities like steel and concrete have driven up the cost of new nuclear, but Progress Energy is the first to offer a firm estimate."

Source: accessed 8-10-2008

Roger Sowell has these comments (aka Energyguy on
This validates what I have maintained all along: Nuclear power plants will not cost $1 billion for a 1000 MW reactor, but much more. Far more. The surging costs of stainless steel, concrete, and copper contribute much to the higher price.

A utility can add to this the long construction times, likely 7 to 10 years, and the cost of borrowing money to finance the construction. Nuclear power plants are not the best economic option, leaving aside the toxic waste disposal or reprocessing problems.

Natural gas-fired combined cycle cogeneration, CCC, is far superior. The world is awash in natural gas, and has been for decades. We are discovering more and more by the day. LNG plants are sprouting around the globe. Super-tankers for LNG are a reality, led by ExxonMobil; these reduce the transportation costs dramatically. LNG receiving ports are under construction around the U.S., and elsewhere.

A CCC is far more energy efficient than a nuclear plant. A nuke puts 3000 to 4000 MW of energy into the ocean, river, or atmosphere via its cooling system, compared to only 250 to 300 MW for a CCC. That is about a 12 to 1 reduction in wasted heat, or thermal pollution. Does that matter? It should, to the eco-hysterics.

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