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Energy Edge

Nuclear Power Stuck in Neutral—Or Quicksand?

photo of Amy Harder
November 4, 2013

Nuclear Power Stuck in Neutral—Or Quicksand?

Four prominent climate-change scientists penned an open letter on Sunday urging anti-nuclear power environmentalists to drop their opposition to the carbon-free fuel in their quest to combat global warming.

The opposition by these environmentalists certainly doesn't help nuclear power. But this fuel source has five other, much bigger problems: cheap natural gas, no price on carbon emissions, exorbitant upfront capital costs, a waste storage quandary (namely: Yucca Mountain); and the enduring repercussions of Japan's 2011 nuclear-plant crisis, which depressed demand for the fuel source around the world.


In fact, nuclear power's share of the U.S. electricity mix is projected to drop over the next 30 years, from 19 percent to 17 percent due to growth in natural gas and renewables, according to the Energy Information Administration.

That's a troubling sign showing an industry stuck in neutral. Or worse, quicksand.

Amy Harder


By Alex Brown

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