Despite all the recent hype about nuclear power, a new renaissance in the industry may not be in America”s future.

At least, that”s how many have interpreted recent statements by new FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff, who created quite a stir in the industry with his assertion that price considerations could make nuclear power unnecessary.

In Texas alone, power companies and investors have announced tentative plans for eight new nuclear generators. But Wellinghoff, quoted in The New York Times, said: “I think [new nuclear expansion] is kind of a theoretical question, because I don”t see anybody building these things, I don”t see anybody having one under construction.”

Building nuclear plants is cost-prohibitive, he said, adding that the last price he saw was more than $7,000 a kilowatt — more expensive than solar energy. “Until costs get to some reasonable cost, I don”t think anybody”s going to [talk] that seriously,” he said.

— Clarence Johnson

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.