Stanford scholars make the case for continued nuclear investment in their new book
Monday, August 21, 2017 at 8:26PM
Uranium Stocks

Jeremy Carl and David Fedor, research scholars at the Hoover Institution, discuss the state of nuclear energy in the U.S. They analyze nuclear’s benefits as well as the economic and policy challenges it faces.

By Milenko Martinovich

Nuclear energy, seemingly, has attributes Americans would want in an energy source: It does not produce carbon emissions – which are harmful to the environment – its costs are predictable and there are added security advantages.

Yet, U.S. nuclear power plants continue to close, reducing nuclear energy’s potential impact.

In their new book, Keeping the Lights on at America’s Nuclear Power Plants, Jeremy Carl and David Fedor of the Hoover Institution examine America’s energy landscape and nuclear’s dwindling presence in it. They discuss nuclear energy’s benefits, Americans’ misunderstood beliefs about it and how nuclear can regain a prominent foothold in the energy marketplace.

Stanford News Service interviewed Carl and Fedor about their new book:

Why has the demand for nuclear energy declined in the U.S.?

Fedor: The textbook response is that electricity is a commodity – like pork bellies or orange juice concentrate on an exchange. There, price is king.

But it turns out that electrons aren’t really commodities after all. Customers, taxpayers, regulators and politicians increasingly care about attributes of the power going on their electric grid – attributes such as carbon and particulate emissions – or whether given power comes from renewable sources. So, we’ve adopted a growing number of subsidies, policies and regulations to guide that otherwise simple, price-based, wholesale power market in particular directions.

Carl: Putting it very bluntly – nuclear, in some parts of the country, costs more than natural gas on the market, but isn’t favored by government policy the same way rapidly growing renewables are – which are also more expensive. It gets no credit in the vast majority of jurisdictions for its lack of carbon emissions because it tends to be unloved by green groups. It also gets no credit for its security attributes, which are considerable. And, finally, our supply chain has stagnated or collapsed. We haven’t completed any new nuclear power plants in almost 30 years and our expertise in doing so has rapidly diminished.

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some positive news at long last....

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