December 10, 2015
Senator Bernie Sanders’ new energy plan, Combating Climate Change to Save the Planet, foresees the United States moving to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050 through a mix of solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal sources. His framework has one glaring omission: nuclear energy. With nuclear power, America could make vast strides toward emissions-free electricity.
Sanders devotes just one paragraph in his 6,500-word plan to nuclear power:
“Begin a moratorium on nuclear power plant license renewals in the United States. Bernie believes that solar, wind, geothermal power and energy efficiency are proven and more cost-effective than nuclear – even without tax incentives – and that the toxic waste byproducts of nuclear plants are not worth the risks of the technology’s benefit. Especially in light of lessons learned from Japan’s Fukushima meltdown, Bernie has also raised questions about why the federal government invests billions into federal subsidies for the nuclear industry. We can have an affordable carbon-free, nuclear-free energy system and we must work for a safe, healthy future for all Americans.”
Sanders makes a number of dubious claims. Let us examine them individually.
“Solar, wind, geothermal power and energy efficiency are proven and more cost-effective than nuclear.”
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), advanced nuclear electricity has an average levelized cost of $95 per megawatt hour. Compare this to photovoltaic solar ($125), offshore wind ($197), and thermal solar ($240).
Read the full article at Economics 21: Sanders’ Inconsistent Opposition to Nuclear Energy