Germany’s nuclear phaseout was the right thing to do via grist


Now let’s do a reality check on the grim “reality” that mugged the New Republic.

First, the author claims that “electricity prices have risen for consumers, and it could cost the country’s four operators of nuclear plants more than $40 billion simply to shut the nuclear reactors down.” Exactly. Each kilowatt hour of nuclear power is much more expensive than stated on customers’ utility bills. Shutting down reactors is only a small part of the lifetime costs for nuclear power, but still: It costs at least $1.4 billion to dismantle one reactor unit in Germany. Nuclear’s burden is even greater in the case of an accident, when taxpayers are stuck with the bill. Tepco, the operator of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, just sought about $13 billion in public funds to deal with compensation claims.

Over the last 40 years, the German nuclear industry has been pampered with more than $230 billion in direct subsidies. Over the same period, renewable energy technologies have received just $56 billion [PDF] in incentives. Subsidies kept the price for electricity generated from nuclear energy artificially low. The argument of cheap nuclear power turns into a boomerang once the hidden costs of nuclear become visible. For economic reasons, nuclear should never have been regarded a viable option in the first place.

Whole article at Germany’s nuclear phaseout was the right thing to do

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