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USA Today 9

USA Today, 8/1/2009, Cost overruns for reactors in the offing., www.thefreelibrary.com/Cost+overruns+for+reactors+in+the+offing.-a0206055211

The likely cost of electricity for a new generation of nuclear reactors would be 12 to 20 cents per kilowatt hour, considerably more expensive than the average cost of increased use of energy efficiency and renewable energies at six cents per kWh, according to a study by Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute of Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, South Royalton. The report finds that it would cost 1.9 trillion to 4.1 trillion dollars more over the life of 100 new nuclear reactors than it would to generate the same elecfricity from a combination of more energy efficiency and renewables.

Coopers analysis of more than three dozen cost estimates for proposed new nuclear reactors shows that the projected price tags for the plants have quadrupled since the start of the industry's so-called "Nuclear Renaissance" at the beginning of this decade, a striking parallel to the eventually sevenfold increase in reactor cost estimates that doomed the "Great Bandwagon Market" of the 1960s and 1970s, when half of the planned reactors had to be abandoned or canceled due to massive cost overruns.

The study notes that the required massive subsidies from taxpayers and ratepayers would not change the real cost of nuclear reactors; they simply would shift the risks to the public. Even with huge subsidies, nuclear reactors would remain more costly than the alternatives, such as efficiency, biomass, wind, and cogeneration.

"We are literally seeing nuclear reactor history repeat itself," proclaims Cooper. "The Great Bandwagon Market that ended so badly for consumers was driven by advocates who confused hope and hype with reality. It is telling that, in the few short years since the so-called Nuclear Renaissance began, there has been a fourfold increase in projected costs. In both time periods, the original lowball estimates were promotional, not practical,"

Adds former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Peter Bradford: "Having government set a quota of 100 new nuclear reactors by a certain date presumes--against decades of evidence to the contrary--that politicians can pick technological winners. Such a policy combines distraction, deception, debt, and disappointment in a mixture reminiscent of other failed Federal policies in recent years."

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