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Letter: Nuclear energy is too expensive to matter

Last modified: 8/6/2013 11:22:03 AM
The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition describes itself as “a national grassroots organization that supports the increased use of nuclear energy to ensure an affordable, environmentally clean, reliable and safe supply of electricity.” The Union of Concerned Scientists says CASE was “founded and is solely funded by the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry trade association.” In addition to Concord Mayor Jim Bouley, new CASE members include a Lockheed Martin director and an Anheuser Busch VP. Other members of this “grassroots organization” include corporations that build and operate nuclear power plants.

Bouley’s point, that nukes “must remain a topic of our region’s energy discussion” (Monitor Forum, Aug. 3) is well taken. But before we accept industry P.R. at face value, a reality check is in order.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013, released last month, is a good reference. Writing in the foreword, former Nuclear Regulatory commissioner Peter Bradford says the promise of a nuclear renaissance was “hard to resist” just a few years ago, when 31 applications for new reactors were pending at the NRC. “It is all in ruins now,” says Bradford, now on the faculty at Vermont Law School. “The 31 proposed reactors are down to four actually being built and a few others lingering on in search of a license, which is good for 20 years. . . . Operating reactors are being closed as uneconomic for the first time in 15 years.” Once touted as “too cheap to meter,” nuclear energy is now too expensive to matter. We need to look elsewhere for alternatives to fossil fuels.




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