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solar power now cheaper than nuclear

So here's an interesting pair of trends: the price of solar photovoltaic power continues to drop, due to economies of scale and improvements in technology and manufacturing, while the price of building nuclear fission power is rising. According to this study from the North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (NC-WARN), the trend lines have now crossed, and in North Carolina solar power is now cheaper than nuclear. (The report was prepared for the state government; the exact results will be different in other states in depending on insolation, but the trend is going to be the same everywhere.)

The prices compared by the study are the prices to consumers and include government subsides for both solar and nuclear; but even if the solar subsides were removed, the crossover point would be delayed no more than ten years. And the solar includes only PV, with no accounting of the potential of concentrating solar power.

According to the New York Times, the construction of the first round of nuclear plants in the U.S. resulted in electricity users getting stuck with nearly $100 billion of costs from bankruptcies and "stranded costs", and a report by Citigroup Global Markets last November termed the financial risks for a new generation of nuclear plant "so large and variable that individually they could each bring even the largest utility to its knees."

Meanwhile, the proposed American Power Act is set to give away about $56 billion to the unsustainable nuclear power industry, including tax credits, access to bonds, an increase in government insurance against regulatory delays, and loan guarantees -- guarantees which leave the American taxpayer on the hook in case of default.

The risk of default for these nuclear industry loan guarantees is about 50 percent.

So, we can get stuck with the bill from the nuclear fission industry as they give us a power source with huge security, waste disposal, weapons proliferation, and safety concerns; or we can make clean, efficient, and effective use of that large nuclear fusion reactor that Providence has provided just 93 million miles away.


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