Did Fukushima kill the nuclear renaissance No, that renaissance died right here at home – The Tech

16 Nov

Bottom line: right now, independently of Fukushima, nuclear power doesn’t make economic sense.

On the eve of the Tohoku earthquake, U.S. nuclear power looked just as moribund as it is today. The cause of this decline is not renewed concerns about safety, or even that old red herring, waste disposal — instead, it is simple economics. Other technologies, particularly natural gas, offer much cheaper power than nuclear both today and in the foreseeable future.

In 2009, the MIT Future of Nuclear Power study released an update to its 2003 estimate of the costs of nuclear power. Estimating a capital cost of $4,000/kW and a fuel cost of $0.67/MMBtu, the study’s authors projected a cost of new nuclear power of 6.6 cents/kWh. Using the same modeling approach, the cost of electricity from a natural gas plant with capital costs of $850/kW and fuel costs of $5.16/MMBtu would be 4.4 cents/kWh.

What’s worse, the estimate of 6.6 cents/kWh assumes that nuclear power is able to secure financing at the same interest rate as natural gas plants.

via Did Fukushima kill the nuclear renaissance No, that renaissance died right here at home – The Tech.

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