Why don't we build more nuclear power plants?

Prospects for Nuclear Power
Lucas W. Davis

Abstract: The prospects for a revival of nuclear power were dim even before the partial reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Nuclear power has long been controversial because of concerns about nuclear accidents, proliferation risk, and the storage of spent fuel. These concerns are real and important. In addition, however, a key challenge for nuclear power has been the high cost of construction for nuclear plants. Construction costs are high enough that it becomes difficult to make an economic argument for nuclear, even before incorporating these external costs. This is particularly true in countries like the United States where recent technological advances have dramatically increased the availability of natural gas.

1 comment:

  1. Nuclear plants are incredibly complex machines and cost a lot to build. In theory, the savings is on the back end in fuel costs. Some of the high construction costs are closely linked to concerns about nuclear accidents, proliferation risk, and the storage of spent fuel. The balancing of these concerns vs. cost is an interesting question that would require someone with economics, psychology, communication and commercial nuclear power experience to unravel.

    I can't hope to do that, but I can offer a decent introduction to the real world of atomic fun that goes beyond short magazine articles. For an entertaining inside look at how US nuclear plants operate from someone who does it every day, see my free novel "Rad Decision". The plant involved and the climatic event bear some simularities to Fukushima. Free online, no advertisements or sponsors - just google the title or go to my homepage. Written for the lay person. Reader reviews are at the homepage or Amazon.

    I think we'll make better decisions about our energy future (and their costs vs. rewards) if we first understand our energy present.