The Nuclear Costs in Context study determined
Newly released Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) study findings revealed total nuclear generating costs are down 19 percent from 2012 and existing nuclear is cheaper than replacing with natural gas.
“Through the Delivering the Nuclear Promise campaign and other initiatives, the hardworking men and women of the nuclear industry have done an amazing job reducing nuclear costs wherever they find them,” John Kotek, NEI vice president of Policy Development and Public Affairs, said. “As we continue to face economic headwinds in markets which do not properly compensate nuclear plants, the industry has been doing its part to reduce costs to remain competitive.”
The Nuclear Costs in Context study determined the average total generating costs for nuclear in 2017 of $33.50 per megawatt hour (MWh), represents a 3.3 percent reduction from 2016; the 19 percent reduction in costs since 2012 includes a 41 percent reduction in capital expenditures, a 17 percent reduction in fuel costs, and a 9 percent reduction in operating costs. The report warns, however, that despite reduced prices, several nuclear power plants have been closed in recent years because of economic pressures.
Closed nuclear plants are often replaced with natural gas power plants which produce substantial amounts of CO2 and come with a bigger price tag than existing nuclear plants. According to the Energy Information Administration, new natural gas-fired plants come with a levelized cost of $48 per MWh compared to existing nuclear’s cost of $33.50 per MWh.
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