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Nuclear or Not? Does Nuclear Power have a Place in a Sustainable Energy Future?

Citation Mitchell, C., and Woodman, B. Nuclear or Not? Does Nuclear Power have a Place in a Sustainable Energy Future?. Palgrave. 2007.
Author(s) Mitchell, C., and Woodman, B.
Publisher Palgrave
Editor David Elliott
ISBN 978-0-230-5076407
Opus Title Risk, Economics and Nuclear Power
Pages p 149-167

This chapter analyses the key areas that will have to be addressed to make nuclear power an attractive investment. It assesses the cost of nuclear power – something always difficult to pin down. It explains the various risks involved in building a new nuclear power plant – whether technological, investment, and market, institutional, political, financial, and capacity-related and so on. It also looks at what has been done in Finland and the United States to support nuclear power. Overall, it argues that the economics of nuclear power are so uncertain and the risks of delivering meaningful levels of new nuclear power plants so great, that it is far less risky and far more rational to develop other non-nuclear energy options. There are a range of different levels of support required, depending whether the goal is one or two new nuclear stations or a full nuclear power programme. Different actors – in particular government and private companies – have different goals and therefore different requirements. An overarching framework to reduce risk in line with a goal of delivering a new nuclear power programme would, in principle, be attractive to the industry. However, this is unlikely to be popular with all the UK’s incumbent energy companies, which have worked hard to carve out their market share. Moreover, it is unlikely to be popular with parts of the government as well as with all customers and consumer groups, which will wish to ensure that the best long-term outcome for customers is achieved.