Just read the article from David Whitford, Fortune Editor at Large, on the high cost of going nuclear, and am dismayed. He is either ignorant of all the facts, or perhaps a shill for the nuclear industry and the NEI (Nuclear Energy Institute. Even his chosen title for the piece is guilty of misrepresentation through omission. The title should have been, "The High Cost To American Tax Payers In Going Nuclear". Never, in the entire history of the world has there been a larger pork barrel gift to industry than George Bush, NRC and the DOE's attempts to revitalize the nuclear industry in the guise of a supposed Nuclear Renaissance.
With 50/50 cost shares, guarantees that the Federal Government will cover cost over runs, the Senate's wrongful attempts to grant 100 percent loan guarantees, and the horrid mistake of reauthorizing the Price Anderson Act, and it is no wonder utility companies are chomping at the bit, lining up to build new nuclear reactors. They, and those investing in them have no risks, as those risk are being paid for by A) the tax payers, and B) the utility customers. We the American people absorb all the risks, take all the financial risks as tax payers and citizens forced to host these monsters, and the utility companies own the asset, and sell us the electricity.
As for Dale Klein...maybe he and the NRC should spend more time enforcing existing regulations, and holding their licensees accountable, rather than weakening rules, and issuing generic findings that excuse their licensees from the regulations in place to keep us safe. They are shoving 20 year license renewals down the throats of communities that don't want to play host to aging, dangerous reactors for another 20 years, and doing it for only one reason. A DOE report issued back in 1998 flat out stated that the only way to a Nuclear Renaissance was to relicense all currently operating reactors for another 20 years...reason was simple...Wall Street would not back another generation of nuclear reactors unless nuclear could maintain its market share during the change over. So, communities became expendable in the name of saving the industry.
David Whitford barely hides his PRO NUCLEAR agenda in his article when he trots out the fact he spoke with MIT Professor Andy Kadak. Of course, he fails to state that the professor is a nuclear engineer teaching at a college tied to both the DOE and the Nuclear Industry. He fails to point out Andy Kadak's vested interest and bias in favor of the nuclear industry, and the fact he is incestuously involved in development of the Pebble Bed reactor. So of course such an information source is going to sing the praises of nuclear energy, claim that NOW is the time for a new generation of reactors to be built...course, he fails to tell you the real risk communities face when old reactors are granted up rates, fails to mention that lack of knowledge and understanding where containment fatigue is concerned (think collapsed bridge in Minnesota yesterday).
Mr. Whitford did get one fact right...nuclear reactor owning companies are making a lot of money right now. What he fails to do, is explain why that is. The DOE picks up most of the research costs for the nuclear industry. American citizens are forced to pick up the lions share of the security costs for nuclear reactors, as well as maintaining the necessary emergency management teams to deal with a nuclear disaster. Further, it is easy to make money when the Price Anderson Act excuses you from liability should your antiquated and fatigued plant cause a significant nuclear event similar to the one in Chernobyl.
Curious here if Mr. Whitford is aware that the industry claims 80 percent loan guarantees are not adequate, that they must have 100 percent loan guarantees for the nuclear renaissance to move forward. IF nuclear reactors are such a GREAT DEAL for investors, lets have NO LOAN guarantees. The NEI has hired a new group of lobbyist to corrupt Washington Congressman on this very fact, claiming Wall Street will not embrace a nuclear renaissance without these 100 percent loan guarantees.
As for CEO David Crane of NRG Energy's quotes...what risks are the utility companies taking in this Nuclear Renaissance? 100 percent loan guarantees, the Price Anderson Act shielding you from financial liability, 50/50 deals with the DOE for the first 6-8 reactors built, and coverage for build time over runs and costs. The nuclear industry does not deserve this pork, and if they want a Nuclear Renaissance, they should have to do it honesty. No pork barrel politics, and no having the NRC weakening regulations, and granting exceptions from others because the NEI has decided said regulations are not cost beneficial to the reactor owners, public safety be damned.