In their recent report on how energy efficiency is bad for consumers in Texas, the Texas Public Policy Foundation took some time to tout nukes.
To distinguish the development of new nuclear reactors from the previous generation which was frought with cost overruns and delays, they claim the following (page 7-8):
“But unlike consumers from the 1980s, today’s consumers won’t be taking on the risk of cost overruns. In fact, they won’t be taking any risk at all. Once the new nuclear plants are complete, the price of the electricity sold from the plants will be determined by market forces. If the price is higher than the cost of the electricity, the plants will be profitable. If not, the plants will lose money. But it is the investors–not consumers–who will bear that risk.”
The investors will bear all the risk? Really? Well, published today is a report from Forbes.com that, in addition to announcing NRG’s dramatic scaling back on nuclear development (by some 95%) quotes NRG Energy’s CEO David Crane as saying he is:
“more comfortable when someone else takes risk.” (as in, the citizens of San Antonio?)
Ouch! I encourage y’all to read the full Forbes article and this one from last December, which notes that a major part of NRG’s strategy is to sell to municipally-owned utilities and electric cooperatives. They are medicine for those that think new nuclear is cost-competitive because they’re all about how dependent nuke developers are on federal loan guarantees (aka subsidies).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Also of interest is an article from this morning’s NYTimes that shows the cost of solar is now cheaper than the cost of nuclear, and a hot-off-the-presses article from Greg Harman at the San Antonio Current saying that with NRG taking so much investment out of developing the plant, and the US gov’t balking at more subsidies for this nuclear pork behemoth, that the only way to make the deal work is to get the governments of France and Japan to also help bail out their investors with, you guessed it- more loan guarantees. How many countries and government bailouts does it take to build a nuke plant in Texas? Three, apparently. Ahhh, nuclear power- it’s like fiscal conservative kryptonite. One mention of it and any and all pretense of being pro free market just disappears as they can’t stop lining up to the gravy train of pork, loan guarantees and subsidies. ~~Andy
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