Reducing Costs of Nuclear Power

  • In 2003, a study was done by scientists at M.IT. presenting plausible ways in which nuclear power plants could reduce their costs.
  • It is well known that nuclear reactors cost more money per kilowatt-hour than both gas and coal plants.
  • Generally, a nuclear plants costs about 6.7 cents per kilowatt-hour where coal and gas-powered plants lie between 4.2 and 5.8 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  • However, new technologies hope to be able to reduce the costs of construction by 25% which would then bring the total cost of electricity down to 5.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  • Furthermore, reducing the construction time of a plant from five to four years, would save another 0.4 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  • And if policy and government regulations were to change and cost the same as for a gas or coal plant, the cost of electricity for a nuclear plant would become equivalent to that of coal or gas.
  • However, all these proposed reductions in cost are plausible, especially if the nuclear industry expands, but have not yet been proved…
  • The most feasible way that the price of nuclear power were to be more favorable economically, would be if carbon emissions were taxed. Such as they are in Europe under an open market.

Resources:

Deutch, John M., and Ernest J. Moniz. “The Nuclear Option.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 1 Sept. 2006, www.nature.com/scientificamerican/journal/v295/n3/full/scientificamerican0906-76.html.

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