----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, April
22, 2006 12:12 AM
Subject: RE: [hreg] Fwd: Greenpeace
Co-Founder Makes The Case FOR Nuclear...
You didn’t tell us
your opinion Charlie. J
I’m not totally opposed to nuclear
energy and the article makes some good points, BUT…
president of the Houston Renewable Energy Group I have to say something. I’ll pick on this point:
Nuclear energy is expensive. It is in fact one of the least expensive energy
sources. In 2004, the average cost of producing nuclear energy in the
was less than two cents per kilowatt-hour, comparable with coal and
hydroelectric. Advances in technology will bring the cost down further in the
Does that include the capital cost of the
plant and disposal cost of the nuclear fuel and reactor at end of life and
health effects? I did some research.
Here is one good review article by Uranium
Information Centre with all the data below
French figures published in 2002 show (EUR cents/kWh): nuclear 3.20,
gas 3.05-4.26, coal 3.81-4.57. Nuclear is favourable because of the large,
standardised plants used.
Source: US Utility Data Inst. (pre 1995), Resource Data International
Note: the above data
refer to fuel plus operation and maintenance costs only, they exclude capital,
since this varies greatly among utilities and states, as well as with the age
of the plant. On the basis of the OECD projections opposite, capital costs in
are 55% of total for nuclear, 45% of total for coal and 16% of total for gas.
Grossing these up on this basis for 2001 gives 3.73 c/kWh for nuclear, 3.27
c/kWh for coal and 5.87 c/kWh for gas.
nuclear coal gas
US 2003 cents/kWh,
Discount rate 5%, 40 year
lifetime, 85% load factor.
Source: OECD/IEA NEA 2005.
discount rate nuclear,
coal and gas costs are as shown above and wind is around 8 cents.
report from the University of Chicago ,
funded by the US Department of Energy, compares the levelised power costs of
future nuclear, coal, and gas-fired power generation in the
USA . Various nuclear options are
covered, and for ABWR or AP1000 they range from 4.3 to 5.0 c/kWh on the basis
of overnight capital
costs of $1200 to $1500/kW, 60 year plant life, 5 year construction and 90%
capacity. Coal gives 3.5 - 4.1 c/kWh and gas (CCGT) 3.5 - 4.5 c/kWh, depending
greatly on fuel price.
Present-day cost of generating
electricity (p/kWh) from new plant
Coal pulverised fuel
Coal fluidised bed
I don’t think any of these include
‘external’ costs (except CO2 in the last one), which the same
article mentions as “Nuclear energy averages 0.4 euro
cents/kWh, much the same as hydro, coal is over 4.0 cents (4.1-7.3), gas ranges
1.3-2.3 cents and only wind shows up better than nuclear, at 0.1-0.2 cents/kWh
At this point, I’m believing that
nuclear is a much better deal than coal (all things considered) and can be
cheaper than combined cycle gas or coal if we build enough of them.
points out the other end of the timeline – past experience:
“Commercial atomic power has thus far
cost $492 billion dollars, $97 billion of which has been in the form of federal
subsidies. They take only those costs that could be fully documented and
rigorously quantified. It shows that atomic-generated electricity has cost
consumers an average of a least 9.0 cents a kilowatt-hour. Excluded costs,
such as health effects of radiation, accidents, adequate insurance, could well
total another $375 billion.”
the late 1990’s, the renewable industries have been aggressively
competitive. The following table shows the competitiveness of renewable energy
technologies, even ignoring the environmental costs associated with fossil and
nuclear generated electricity (for further information on Renewable Energy
Technologies, see Annex I).
Figure 2 : Commercial renewables against proposed and actual nuclear costs
(NEPI: Nuclear Energy Policy Issues Proposal for Sizewell C, 1994; NUFFO
figures from Grubb & Vigotti, 199710).
article by Greenpeace also makes an excellent point about energy efficiency:
“Several technologies were
considered, including compact fluorescent lamps, improved refrigerators and
water-heaters and motor improvements. While the best electric-efficiency costs
less than 1 cent per kWh of electricity saved, the average cost weighted over a
wide range of electric efficiency improvements was around 2 cents.”
you’re still with me, I’d say I have not made a case against
nuclear, but against coal. I’ve not made a good case for solar (or even
wind), but for energy efficiency. [see also RMI http://www.rmi.org/
] However, solar (and even wind) are not mature industries. Boy what we could
do with the $492 billion nuclear got!
renewable energy advocates have our work cut out for ourselves. This gives
some idea what we are up against. Through innovation, information and
integration into our lives, we’ve got to make many forms of renewable
energy cost competitive with nuclear energy, or else live with the
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of chasmauch@...
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Subject: [hreg] Fwd: Greenpeace
Co-Founder Makes The Case FOR Nuclear...