The breakdown of the nuclear power plant in Japan shows how environmentally dangerous nuclear power can be. Another negative for nuclear power is the cost of it. The nuclear power industry has never been able to survive without tax subsidies. When the nuclear power industry began it received “massive subsidies,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The California Energy Commission (CEC), in the most recent Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR), looked at the cost of electricity from 21 different central station generation technologies. The study found that by 2018 most renewable technologies, including solar photovoltaics (PV), will generate electricity for less than nuclear power.
A study for the German Renewable Energy Association found that nuclear reactors are effectively uninsurable. The study estimated that the premium needed to insure a nuclear reactor would cost from $0.20 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to $3.40/kWh, which means that the cost to ensure a new plant would cost as much as the power it produces.
A paper by the University of New South Wales’ deputy director of the Institute of Environmental Studies, Mark Diesendorf said that by 2020, offshore wind farms, solar thermal and solar PVs are predicted to be cheaper than nuclear energy. The cites the rising cost of cost of building a nuclear power plant, which increased since 2002 from over $2,000 per kilowatt (KW) generation capacity installed to about $7,400 per KW. The cost of onshore wind power decreased last year from $1,900 per KW to $1,700 per KW, and solar decreased from $7,000 per KW to $5,120 per KW, and as low as $3,000 for utility scale projects.
California nuclear industry has not grown since 1976
There is a saying, “As California goes, so goes the nation.” Since 1976, there has been a moratorium on building new nuclear power plants, which effectively put a stop to the state’s nuclear power industry. Only 16 percent of the most populous state’s energy is generated from nuclear power.
The San Joaquin Valley of California is considered to be the agricultural center of the world, supplying the nation with its produce. The group, Fresno Nuclear Energy Group, LLC promotes the development of a nuclear power plant in Fresno, smack dab in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley.
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted last week to not support the group formally through a letter of recommendation. Previously, the majority of the board favored the group, and the idea of bringing nuclear power to the Fresno area.
About 20 people showed up to the Board meeting to protest nuclear energy in Fresno. One of them, Michael Becker, a political science professor at California State University, Fresno, said, “It’s jeopardizing the food supply of the human race, literally.”
Board Supervisor Henry Perea, who has consistently opposed nuclear energy in Fresno, said, “We set them back…This sends a strong message that we’re not going to let construction of a nuclear power plant in Fresno County happen.”
User: Paul J. Everett