The High Cost of Nuclear Power

Renewable energy sources can produce far more electricity than nuclear plants for less money, according to the new Florida PIRG report.


Florida PIRG Education Fund

TALLAHASSEE – Renewable energy sources can produce far more electricity than nuclear plants for less money, according to the new Florida PIRG report.

Unfortunately, today the Florida Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee narrowly voted in favor of PCS/SB1154 by Jim King (R-Jacksonville).

The new committee substitute for SB1154 would include nuclear power in Florida’s renewable portfolio standard, effectively derailing efforts to move Florida aggressively towards real renewable energy sources and moving Florida towards a less cost effective energy future.

Florida is not alone. The nuclear industry has proposed thirty new reactors across the country at an estimated cost of $300 billion.

“Taxpayers should not be subsidizing nuclear power when there are faster, cleaner, cheaper alternatives to meet our energy needs,” said Brad Ashwell, Florida PIRG’s Consumer Advocate.

Here in Florida the nuclear industry has proposed 4 new reactors at a cost of $34 billion.

Nuclear power is among the most costly approaches to solving America’s energy problems. 

“Per dollar of investment, clean energy solutions – such as energy efficiency and renewable resources – deliver far more energy than nuclear power” according to Ashwell.

Per Dollar of Investment:

  • Energy efficiency measures can deliver greater than five times more electricity than nuclear power.
  • Combined heat and power (which generates both useful heat and electricity for a factory, a school campus or an office building) can generate nearly four times more energy than nuclear power.
  • Wind farms can produce as much as 100 percent more electricity than nuclear power.
  • A solar thermal power plant in the southwestern U.S. – capable of storing heat to generate electricity even when the sun isn’t shining – can deliver as much as one-third more energy than a nuclear reactor.

The report recommended the following policies to ensure taxpayers get the best return for their investment:

  • State leaders should require any company proposing to build a new nuclear reactor to demonstrate that nuclear would be more cost-effective than other ways to meet electricity demand, including energy efficiency, before allowing construction to proceed.
  • Federal and state leaders should ensure that energy companies and their shareholders shoulder all of the financial risk of any new nuclear reactor project, not ratepayers or taxpayers. In particular, regulators should not allow utilities to levy advance charges on consumers in order to finance the construction of a new reactor.
  • Congress should repeal the Price Anderson act, under which taxpayers shoulder the lion’s share of responsibility for any major nuclear accident.
  • America should shift current federal subsidies away from nuclear and fossil fuel energy, creating an annual $[15] billion fund for research, development and deployment of more effective energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.