What a really poor investment looks like

Recently, the congress and the Obama administration has approved what could be up to $225 million in federal funding for a new generation of reactor design called Small Modular Reactors.  I am working on a blog post on this particular topic and in doing research on it, i have come across a report which is worth it’s own blog post.

Nuclear Power: Still not viable without subsidies is a 146 page report that you can download.  But let me save most of you the work by giving you this key disturbing statistic which comes up in the first few pages of this pretty accessible document.

Between 1960 and 2009 the total subsidy for nuclear power plants in the US works out to US$ 0.072/kwh which is 140% of the wholesale cost of electricity during that period.

In other words, the amount of money the government has paid for these reactors to exist and operate exceeds significantly the value of the electricity they produced.

Put even more simply, from an economics perspective we would be way ahead if we had never build these reactors at all.  The money was wasted.

This is what a poor investment looks like

The author  of this 2011 report for the Union of Concerned Scientists is Doug Koplow.  He has been working on energy subsides for 20 years and has an MBA from Harvard.

So i went to the NEI blog.  This is where the nuclear lobby takes on its critics.  Amory Lovins, Helen Caldicott, Paul Gunter and their work all gets attacked here.  Not a word about Doug Koplow or this report.

industry and government refuse to read the business press on nuclear