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Costs of Nuclear Power Plants- What Went Wrong

  • Bernard L. Cohen
Chapter

Abstract

No nuclear power plants in the United States ordered since 1974 will be completed, and many dozens of partially constructed plants have been abandoned. What cut off the growth of nuclear power so suddenly and so completely? The direct cause is not fear of reactor accidents, or of radioactive materials released into the environment, or of radioactive waste. It is rather that costs have escalated wildly, making nuclear plants too expensive to build. State commissions that regulate them require that utilities provide electric power to their customers at the lowest possible price. In the early 1970s this goal was achieved through the use of nuclear power plants. However, at the cost of recently completed plants, analyses indicate that it is cheaper to generate electricity by burning coal. Here we will attempt to understand how this switch occurred. It will serve as background for the next chapter, which presents the solution to these problems.

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References

  1. 1.
    United Engineers and Constructors, Inc., “Phase IX Update (1987) Report for the Energy Economic Data Base Program” (July 1988). Also, “Phase x Update Report” (September 1989).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. Reynolds, “Cost of Coal vs. Nuclear in Electric Power Generation,” U.S. Energy Information Administration Document (1982).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    W. W. Brandfon, “The Economics of Nuclear Power,” American Ceramic Society, Cincinnati (1982).Google Scholar
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    I. Spiewak and D. E Cope, “Overview Paper on Nuclear Power,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory Report ORNL/TM-7425.Google Scholar
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    J. H. Crowley, “Nuclear Energy—What’s Next,” Atomic-Industrial Forum Workshop on the Electric Imperative, Monterey, CA (1981).Google Scholar
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    Long Island Lighting Company, “The Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant: An Overview” (1982).Google Scholar
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    M. R. Copulos, Confrontation at Seabrook, The Heritage Foundation (1978).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bernard L. Cohen 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard L. Cohen

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