Nuclear power 'failing' price test  

Posted by Big Gav in

The SMH has an article on the cost of nuclear power - Nuclear power 'failing' price test.

NUCLEAR energy will be more expensive than most forms of renewable energy by 2020 according to a paper by the University of NSW energy expert Mark Diesendorf.

The paper, to be given at a solar industry conference in Canberra today, finds the cheapest renewable energy sources – including landfill gas, onshore wind, conventional geothermal and hydro – are already cost-competitive with conventional nuclear energy power plants.

By 2020, offshore wind farms, solar thermal and solar photovoltaics are all projected to be less expensive than nuclear energy.

Dr Diesendorf, the deputy director of the Institute of Environmental Studies, said the cost of building a nuclear power plant has risen rapidly since 2002, from more than $US2000 per kw of generation capacity installed, to about $US7400 per kw.

The latest capital cost translates to about US15¢ per kwh of electricity generated, which is projected to rise to about 20¢ per kwh over the next decade, if costs continue to rise at current rates.

The figures do not count subsidies for nuclear energy such as loan guarantees, land acquired for buffer zones around reactors or decommissioning costs.

By comparison the study cites big falls in the capital cost of onshore wind power last year, from $1900 per kw to $1700 per kw, and in solar from $7000 per kw to $5120 per kw (and as low as $3000 for utility-scale projects).

None of the projections assume a carbon price.

Dr Diesendorf said the cost of nuclear energy was rising because the industry was "not expanding".

Nuclear's share of global power generation had fallen from 17 per cent in 2001 to 14 per cent last year with the main growth coming from China, Russia, India and South Korea.

Only two reactors were under construction in western countries – in Finland and France – and both were over-time and over-budget.

4 comments

But but..isn't Nuclear supposed to be THE replacement?

Great blog - I've been reading for years and am surprised there's not more discussion.

Thomas   says 10:17 PM

Great article - but why is the nuclear myth so strong in Australia? It almost feels as if the old macho culture is kept alive in part by repeating nuclear and anti-renewable slogans, irrationally and mindlessly. You'd think people had got it by now, especially when a huge nuclear energy company like Areva is investing massively in renewables...

Nuclear has always supposed to be THE replacemnt, but never will be...

Thanks L Carey - I guess comments are limited here because original content traditionally goes to TOD ANZ for wider discussion, and as I moderate comments here it slows things down as well.

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