New nuclear construction will likely cost consumers much more than advertised, according to a new report from Public Citizen.

The report, entitled Costs of Current and Planned Nuclear Power Plants in Texas, notes that while industry supporters like to point to the low operating costs of nuclear power plants, often ignored is the high capital costs of new construction and the fact that under deregulation, the potential financial benefits of efficient plant operations go to generators, not consumers.

“A new nuclear project will be 50 percent more costly over its life than the primary conventional alternative, combined cycle generation,” according to the report, drafted by policy analyst Clarence Johnson for the Texas Office of Public Citizen. “A portfolio of energy efficiency, alternative resources and conventional generation is likely to be more cost effective.”

The report notes that “cost overruns are likely to result in pleas for more public subsidies” and that further nuclear construction would exacerbate existing market power problems in the Texas. Additional market power “will increase the temptation for owners of the plants to raise prices above competitive levels,” states the report.

R.A. "Jake" Dyer

R.A. "Jake" Dyer

Is a policy analyst for TCAP, a coalition of cities and other political subdivisions that purchase electricity in the deregulated market for their own governmental use. Because high energy costs can impact municipal budgets and the ability to fund essential services, TCAP, as part of its mission, actively promotes affordable energy policies. High energy prices also place a burden on local businesses and home consumers.

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