Boise, Idaho, November 15, 2010 – One of the huge debates swirling around nuclear power is its price. Some critics argue that even though nuclear plants offer clean, reliable sources of electricity, building new plants is just too costly.
Not so, says a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Commissioned by a Swedish industry group, SKGS, the report concludes that electricity from new nuclear plants would be less than two-thirds the price of electricity generated by new wind farms.
“This independent report helps explode the myth that nuclear plants can’t compete with wind, solar, and other popular forms of renewable power,” said Don Gillispie, CEO of Alternate Energy Holdings, an Eagle, Idaho-based company that plans to a build nuclear power plant in Idaho and market nuclear desalination systems around the world.”
The group SKGS represents industries in Sweden that use a lot of electricity, such as steelmakers, mining companies and chemical manufacturers. These companies are worried about having enough affordable electricity in the future to remain competitive in Sweden and in global markets. So the group asked PricewaterhouseCoopers to figure out what new sources of electricity make the most economic sense.
The answer? Nukes and, if available, hydropower. Not wind. In order to get a reasonable return on investment, the report concluded, nuclear plants had to be able to sell power at minimum price 6.3 cents per kWh without government loan guarantees and just 4.4 cents per kWh if such guarantees are available. That compares to 9.67 cents per kWh for wind and 5.8 cents per kWh for hydro.
“The new study suggests that nuclear power will be the cheapest power source,” says SKGS president Kenneth Eriksson.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers figures are also very close to those estimated by AEHI’s Gillispie, a 45-year veteran of the nuclear industry in the U.S. “At AEHI, we are now on track to build a large dual-reactor nuclear power plant in Idaho for a total cost of about $8 – $10 billion,” Gillispie says. “That would translate to a cost of about 4-5 cents per kWh according to our calculations for the electricity produced by the plants,” he says. “Not only does that make nuclear power a huge bargain compared to wind and solar, but it is also a carbon-free source compared to coal, which is the biggest single contributor to global warming. Further, nuclear has the highest reliability of well over 90 percent compared to approximately 20 percent for wind and solar.”
Other projects include Energy Neutral, which removes energy demands from homes and businesses, Colorado Energy Park (nuclear and solar generation), and Green World Water, which assists developing countries with nuclear reactors for power generation, production of potable water and other suitable applications. AEHI China, headquartered in Beijing, develops joint ventures to produce nuclear plant components and consults on nuclear power.