The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) has dismissed as ‘speculation’ a report predicting a decline in nuclear power by 2020. The DoE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), report predicts that more than 40% of the US’ nuclear capacity will not be operating by 2020.
The forecast echoes concerns expressed in a study by Energy Access LLC of Bowie, Maryland. Energy Access found that about 40 % of US nuclear power capacity is economically ‘vulnerable’.
In response the NEI notes the EIA admits it wrongly forecast nuclear plant closures in its 1999 report. Yet the agency goes on to make “a similarly flawed forecast” for the next 20 years. “Again, the agency has it wrong.” The EIA projections fail to account for rising plant performance, the potential for further operating cost reductions, and the “inextricable link between clean air and energy policies.” US nuclear plants operated with a record capacity factor of 87% in the first six months of 1999, and the cost of nuclear electricity has been declining since 1990, dropping to a low of 2.27 cents per kilowatt-hour in 1997, the NEI said. The EIA report predicts that electricity prices will drop from 6.9 cents per kWh in 1998 to 5.8 cents in 2020.