Flat Demand Killing US Nukes

In recent months, four nuclear powered reactors have announced permanent shut downs.  All of these shut downs are considered “early” because they are taking place before the end of the planned lives of these units.

Recently, the industry has seen the shutdown of four reactors — San Onofre (2 reactors) in California, Kewaunee in Wisconsin, and Crystal River in Florida – as well as the end of five large planned ‘uprate’ expansion projects — Prairie Island in Minnesota, LaSalle (2 reactors) in Illinois, and Limerick (2 reactors) in Pennsylvania.

Fierce Energy also reports that:

“The Duke decision to pull the plug on Levy follows by just one day the announcement that the French-subsidized nuclear giant EDF is pulling out of the U.S. nuclear power market due to the inability of nuclear power to compete with alternatives and the dramatic reduction in demand growth caused by increasing efficiency of electricity consuming devices,” Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis, Institute for Energy and the Environment, Vermont Law School. Cooper recently forecast that three dozen reactors are at risk of early retirement.

The new world of flat demand in the US has pulled the rug out from under the Cheney attempt to use the old bait and switch between nuclear power and coal generation.  Cheney pushed new coal plants, while at the same time pushing new nukes as a way to generate power without producing carbon dioxide, even though he led global warming deniers.  Some innocents, like Stewart Brand, Al Gore and even Jim Hansen, were taken in by this flimflam.

And who can forget the 1960s industry propaganda that nuke power would be “too cheap to meter.”  Yeah.  Tell that to the Florida Power and Light rate payers who have gotten stuck paying in advance for expensive electricity that they will never get from the Crystal River plant.

Instead of “too cheap to meter” nukes have proven to be too expensive to run.


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