Azara Blog: Nuclear is bad, all other renewables are good

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Date published: 2005/06/29

The BBC says:

The cost of new nuclear power has been underestimated by a factor of three, according to a British think tank.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) says existing estimates do not allow for the cost of building novel technologies and expensive time delays in construction.

They claim that renewable energy sources like wind and solar should be relied upon instead of nuclear power.

However their report has been dismissed as inaccurate by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA).

"This report is grossly out of kilter with almost all other reports that have been done," said Simon James of the NIA.

According to British Energy and British Nuclear Fuels, the cost of nuclear generation is between 2.2 and 3.0p/kWh. But the NEF says that this figure is probably a severe underestimate, with the real cost being somewhere between 3.4 and 8.3/kWh.
"A resurgence of interest in nuclear power, justified by voodoo economics, stands to hinder and potentially derail renewable energy," said Andrew Simms, NEF policy director.

However, the Royal Academy of Engineers (RAE), who recently completed their own estimates of the cost of nuclear power, dismissed the report.

"They are focusing on the worst-case scenario for nuclear power and the best-case scenario for renewables; so it is hardly a balanced view," an RAE spokesman told the BBC News website.

NEF has the strapline "Economics as if people and the planet mattered" which is a good indication that they cannot be treated seriously. And indeed, their report is completely one-sided, giving no real mention of any downside with non-nuclear renewables nor of any upside with nuclear power. These kinds of consultancies are a plague on modern life. They are very good at producing glossy PDF files but not so good at actually doing anything useful. Needless to say the RAE is a more reliable source of information. Engineers 10, Economists 0.

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