Statement from U.S PIRG Tax and Budget Advocate Michelle Surka on the recent cancellation of two nuclear power plant reactor construction projects in South Carolina:
“The recent announcement that the South Carolina V.C. Summer Nuclear Project is ending before the reactor is completed doesn’t come as a surprise. We’ve warned for years that this project and others like it are a bad investment due to the high costs, high risks and safety concerns. This project was encouraged by a combination of taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies, rather than economics and the public interest.
“The recently shut down South Carolina nuclear reactor cost local ratepayers significantly, with rates going up fives times in the course of the project’s life span to pay for construction and ultimately making up 18% of utility bills. The reactor will never be completed and will never provide the energy it promised, and it’s unlikely that these taxpayers will get their money back.
“Nuclear energy construction has consistently proved to be more expensive and time-consuming than projected. The projected cost of a new nuclear reactor has multiplied many times over the past decade.
Nuclear is very expensive even before accounting for the hidden subsidies that taxpayers provide in the form of limited liability in the event of an accident and the eventual costs of decommissioning plants at the end of their useful life. Without these taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies, nuclear would be even less economically viable.
“Meanwhile, per dollar of investment, clean energy innovation– renewable energy and improved energy efficiency– is the more cost-effective and safer route. Clean energy delivers more to consumers, costs less, and doesn’t risk the health and safety of Americans. We have better options than nuclear energy– the government should invest in those options rather than continuing to bet on nuclear power.”