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Construction Costs

Construction costs for new reactors are unpredictable, extreme and continue to rise. Current estimates run as high as $12 billion per reactor but threaten to further sky-rocket, prompting the nuclear industry either to cancel plans for new plants or look to taxpayer-funded federal loan guarantees to cover the cost.

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Friday
Aug202010

Speaking tour of Japan challenges financing for new U.S. reactors

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps toured Japan from August 2nd to 12th, visiting Tokyo, Fukushima, Fukui, Kansai and Kyushu. A highlight included meeting with officials from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance agency, where a letter signed by 75 U.S. national and grassroots groups was delivered, urging no Japanese financing for risky new reactors in the U.S. A backgrounder spelled out these risks in detail. Most proposed new U.S. atomic reactors have designs owned by Japanese companies -- either Toshiba (Westinghouse), Hitachi (General Electric), or Mitsubishi. At South Texas Project, Toshiba and Tokyo Electric Power Company are even partners in the venture. In addition, Japan Steel Works would be the primary supplier of large nuclear components, such as reactor pressure vessels and steam generators. The Japanese news media were alerted to the letter and meeting, and the Japanese Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry received copies of the letter.

Friday
Jan012010

Poster child for cost overruns poised to recieve first Energy Dept. nuclear loan guarantee

SACE has clearly stated the irony of the nuclear power plant that did as much as any to kill the atomic bandwagon in the 1970s and 1980s -- a poster child for cost overruns -- now being poised to receive the first nuclear loan guarantee from the Energy Dept. This will put billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money at risk, and makes no sense whatsoever given the "rising financial risks, reduced demand for power, cheaper renewables and huge potential of energy efficiency."

Decades ago, Vogtle originally planned to build four reactors, at an estimated cost of $660 million. This price tag skyrocketed to $8.87 billion for just the two currently operating reactors at Vogtle. Thus, rather than the original $165 million per reactor prediction, the actual costs came out to be $4.435 BILLION per reactor, a nearly 27-fold cost overrun! Thus, as stated by Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, “Huge cost overruns at the original Plant Vogtle likely played a role in putting the brakes on nuclear expansion plans pursued decades ago in the United States.”  

Despite this shocking history, Vogtle plans to build two more reactors, at U.S. taxpayer and regional ratepayer financial risk, compliments of the Energy Dept. loan guarantee and the State of Georgia's allowing for Construction Work in Progress charges on electricity bills (illegal in most other states).

Wednesday
Jul082009

What new nuclear reactors will really cost - and what you might be paying even before one is built

In an April 28, 2009 Associated Press article, Mark Williams explores the enormous costs of building new nuclear plants, the subsidies needed to pay for them, and the rate hikes that some states allow even before ground is broken. 

Wednesday
Jul082009

High Costs of Nuclear Make "Renaissance" A Non-Starter

The still soaring costs of new nuclear plants plus protracted construction delays could make the so-called nuclear "renaissance" a non-starter and eliminate its alleged usefulness in addressing climate change, a mainstay of the pro-nuclear argument, reports Scientific American. The article references the new MIT updated study on global nuclear power prospects.

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