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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Independent Economist Makes the Case Against Nuclear Energy

From The Plain Dealer:
Mark Cooper, an independent economist and senior fellow for economic analysis at the Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment, bases his argument on another decade of continuing low natural gas prices to give new gas-fired power plants enough of an edge to squeeze out older nuclear plants already beset with rising maintenance costs. 
"Renaissance in Reverse," a 40-page paper released Wednesday, notes that utilities are already beginning to close older nuclear plants that are too expensive to keep repaired as incomes shrink because of low power prices. Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants are included among the reactors at risk. 
Cooper, who thinks nuclear energy's cost overruns and frequent shutdowns have always made it more expensive than it appears, recommends that the industry develop an orderly closing plan over the next few years, avoiding the rate chaos that unplanned closings might create. 
"In 2013, more (nuclear) capacity retired early than in any year of the U.S. commercial nuclear sector," he said in a press briefing. "In recent months, four reactors have been closed in early retirement, five major up-rates (increases in generating capacity) were cancelled.
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