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I think a main problem for nuclear power now is economics. Within the electricity market as it is constructed today, nuclear has a problem.

Gas or hydro or whatever is used as topload, is turned on when prices are high and of when prices are low, so they get the high rates. Nuclear and wind and solar are price takers, they run normally as much as they can (which for nuclear is static (or down for maintenance) and for wind and solar is variable).

So nuclear competes within the same market segment as wind and solar which has extremely low marginal costs in operation, and is cheaper to install. Absent massive subsidies or a re-worked market structure new nuclear isn't economically viable.

Of Sweden's twelve reactors, two were closed by political decisions - Barsebäck in 2005 - and of the remaining ten, four is either closed or are shutting down because they are not commercially viable and the cost of getting them up to date was prohibitive. The last six - the newest ones - have undergone extensive renovation.  The closed ones couldn't compete with wind power as investment, and this was already existing plants were, although a lot would be replaced, the site and the plant itself already existed, and the company was renovating other plants.

by fjallstrom on Mon Oct 4th, 2021 at 08:45:29 AM EST
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