Nuclear power;still not viable without subsidies

Published 2011 / 02
Summary This report is an analysis of the 'hidden' subsidies to nuclear power the US. Those subsidies exist both in the construction and the operation phases of nuclear power and involve both the reactors and other fuel cycle facilities. Most important subsidies do NOT involve cash payments, but they shift the construction-cost-risk and operating-risks and the associated costs from the investors to the public (both taxpayers and electricity consumers). The risks involved are: - economic - waste disposal - safety - security (proliferation) Since the industry typically doesn't bear these risks, the associate costs are often not included in industry cost estimates. For all practical purposes nuclear power's economic gains are privatized while it's risks are socialized. This split incentive problem is basically the same problem that caused the housing and financial markets to collapse. The main finding of this report is that subsidies have often exceeded the value of the power produced. Existing reactors have received historical subsidies for the period of 1960 - 2008 that amounted to 140% of the wholesale price of electricity. Low estimates of ongoing subsidies are 13% of the wholesale prices of electricity (which is equivalent to 35% of the O&M and fuel costs of nuclear reactors). Subsidies for new reactors follow these patterns. The subsidies with the largest values are: - Federal and municipal loan guarantees - Cap on 3rd party liability - Many different tax cuts (power produced, accelerated depreciation (15 yrs!), decommissioning trust, etc)
Keywords nuclear, hidden, subsidy
File name UCS_201102_Nuclear power still not viable without subsidies.pdf