Economics of Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is cost-competitive with other forms of electricity generation, except where there is direct access to low-cost fossil fuels. In assessing the economics of nuclear power, decommissioning and waste disposal costs are fully taken into account.

Energy Subsidies

Substantial amounts have been invested in energy R&D over the last 30 years, much directed at developing nuclear energy. Nowhere in the world is nuclear power subsidised per unit of production. In some countries however it is taxed because production costs are so low.

Externalities of Electricity Generation

Fossil fuels receive indirect subsidies in their waste disposal as well as some direct subsidies. Nuclear energy fully accounts for its waste disposal and decommissioning costs in financial evaluations.

Financing Nuclear Energy

A nuclear power plant project is characterised by high upfront capital costs and long construction periods, low and stable operational costs, and lengthy payback periods. This investment profile, combined with the risks associated with construction, mean that the cost of financing is a key determinant of the cost of electricity generated.

Nuclear Power and Energy Security

The 1970 energy crises led to a major expansion of nuclear capacity as countries sought to diversify their sources of energy supply and reduce dependence on the continual import of large volumes of fossil fuels. For many countries, the appraisal of recent events and, in particular, surging fossil fuel prices, has led to similar decisions that that may result in a greater role for nuclear energy.