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The nuclear renaissance continues apace August 3, 2013

Posted by Maury Markowitz in nuclear.

Further evidence of the sorry state of the nuclear industry floated up today with the announcement that Duke Energy was basically abandoning it’s plans to build two reactors in Florida.

They blamed it mostly on delays at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and to a lesser extent on the Florida lawmakers and even the lack of a carbon trading scheme.

These are all good reasons, I’m sure. But it seems they left out another one. Here, follow along…

Recall from previous articles that the price of electricity from a nuclear plant is utterly dominated by its construction costs – the cost of fuel and maintenance is tiny compared to the interest payments on the money you borrowed to buy it (especially here). So pretty much all we need to know was the “cost per watt”, everything else is vanishing.

The plant in question was going to have two 1,100 MW reactors, a total of 2.2 GW.

The price tag was $24.7 billion, aka 24.7 G$

We measure everything in the power industry in dollars per watt. So…

24.7 / 2.2 = 11.23 dollars per watt

Let’s put that in perspective. Natural gas turbines are going in right now for about $1 a watt. That’s right, 11 times less expensive. Industrial sized solar PV systems are going in at around $1.90. Wind is around $2.

So that’s why the industry installed 32 GW of solar in 2012, another 44 GW of wind, and, in the US at least, 6.3 GW of natural gas. The nuclear industry managed to install -15 GW in 2012. That’s right, negative 15 GW.

Need more proof? Duke’s stock was up on the news.


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