In light of yet another nuclear renaissance story, here's a quick update on nuclear power.

Two areas of bad news, one of uncertainty, and spectacular improvements of the alternatives: renewables and storage.

Nuclear bad news 1: massive cost overruns and delays continue at only conventional nuclear power plants under construction in the USA.

The Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors were delayed again. These two conventional reactors were started in 2013 and will cost at least $30.34 billion.

The nuclear renaissance was pitched to the public at a $4 billion/gigawatt reactor price point, so we're now approaching a 4x cost.


Nuclear bad news 2: Small modular reactors, pitched as a low-waste future version of nuclear power, are actually likely to compound nuclear waste, according to a peer-reviewed analysis.

A balanced look at the leading SMR project, which promises a reactor in 2029. Far too early to tell if they will meet their cost promises.

The area of uncertainty is lifetime extension for existing nuclear power plants. Unlike New construction, just keeping these open is cost competitive with new renewables.

(see yellow dots on thus graph)

Meanwhile the costs of solar and wind power continue to plunge and both distributed sourcing and battery storage provide an alternative to the "baseload" power nuclear backers claim is necessary.

As I've said before, activist effort is far better spent on retiring coal and gas plants than nuclear ones right now, but there's no real case for a nuclear renaissance.

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