The Costs of Nuclear Power

I don’t know if any of you have followed my exchange with Eric from NEINuclearNotes below, but yesterday he brought up the concept of cost-benefits analysis and claimed that nuclear power has the edge here. This article from OneWorld.net claims otherwise. When factoring in costs of initial construction (which regularly go over budget), regular maintenance, and disposal of radioactive wastes, nuclear power is no bargain. And, of course, it was nice to see my last comment validated:

[ Brendan Hoffman, an energy expert with the U.S.-based advocacy group Public Citizen] argued that a better investment of public money would be in improvements in energy efficiency and conservation using simple, existing technologies like energy saving light bulbs, better house insulation, and replacing electric water heaters with solar units.

The Rocky Mountain Institute, a non-profit energy research organisation, has calculated that improvements in energy efficiency are six times more cost effective than nuclear power and eliminate the need for all existing nuclear plants and any future ones.

”All of this could be done without any changes to our way of life,” said Hoffman.

Why the push for nuclear power? In Hoffman’s view, because ”the nuclear industry are major donors to Bush Republicans and have a direct channel to power in Washington.”

On a final note, let me also say that I hope Eric and his fellow NEI bloggers do feel welcome to continue this debate. We’ve gotten a little heated recently, but I’m still a native Southerner who wants to make sure my guests feel like guests…

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