But Isn’t Nuclear Power Cheap?

Nuclear power is expensive and a bad investment.

No, nuclear power is expensive and a bad investment.

Nuclear power is among the most costly approaches to solving America’s energy problems. You just have to look at the history of nuclear power to understand. Of 75 nuclear reactors completed between 1966 and 1986, the average cost more than triple its original construction budget.  In 1985, Forbes magazine wrote that “the failure of the U.S. nuclear power program ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history, a disaster on a monumental scale.”[1]

The industry instead turned to taxpayer support. Over the last fifty years, American taxpayers have subsidized nuclear power to the tune of $145 billion. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the total value of subsidies has been worth more than the entire value of the electricity they produced.

Wall Street investors still won’t touch nuclear reactors because the technology is too risky and too expensive. In fact, the investment ratings firm Moody’s calls nuclear construction a “bet the farm risk” for a typical utility.

In contrast, investors are lining up to support newer renewable technologies, because they are more cost effective. Per dollar of investment, safe energy solutions – such as energy efficiency and wind power – deliver far more electricity than nuclear reactors

[1] J. Cook, “Nuclear Follies,” Forbes, February 1985.