Saturday, January 07, 2012

John Quiggin: "Solar rises, nuclear falls"

John Quiggin's post Solar rises, nuclear falls links to his article The end of the nuclear renaissance. In the post, he says that "but that’s only half the story and probably the less interesting half. The real news of 2011 was the continued massive drop in the price of solar PV, which renders obsolete any analysis based on data before about 2010. In particular, anyone who thinks nuclear is the most promising candidate to replace fossil fuels really needs to recalibrate their views. There’s a case to be made for nuclear as a backstop option, but it’s not nearly as strong as it was even two years ago."
From the article:
"The “solar vs. nuclear” dispute had been largely symbolic for several decades. After rapid growth in the 1960s and 1970s, new installations of nuclear power came to a grinding halt. This was partly a result of safety fears created by the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Economic factors were even more significant. Far from being too cheap to meter, nuclear power turned out to be far more expensive than its main rival, coal, primarily because of unpredictable capital costs and generally high interest rates.

As a result, since 1977, when the River Bend plant in Louisiana commenced construction, not one new nuclear-power plant has been ordered and completed in the United States. The situation in most other developed countries was similar."
It is not clear to me why UPA is still pursuing 'nuclear power': New rules give some relief to nuclear suppliers.

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