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U.S. Nuclear Can’t Survive Without Major Subsidies, Investment Firm Warns

Tennessee Valley Authority/Wikimedia Commons
Tennessee Valley Authority/Wikimedia Commons

The United States nuclear industry is headed for oblivion without more government support, an executive with Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s largest investment firms, told a global energy finance conference last week.

“We will see the end of the nuclear industry in the next coming decades” without incentives or other forms of support to keep existing installations running and get new plants built, said Bob Mancini, co-head of Carlyle’s power unit.

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“The nation’s nuclear reactors need more subsidies to keep running, such as a federal carbon tax that’ll reward them for their zero-emissions power,” Bloomberg notes, even though “the cost of building a nuclear plant may be more than five times that of a gas-fired one,” according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Stacy Nemeroff.

Mancini pointed to measures approved by New York as an example of the kind of help nuclear power plant owners are going to need to survive,” the news agency notes. “In August, state regulators there cleared subsidies worth about $500 million a year as part of a clean energy plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Competitors are fighting the plan. But if the plants are shut down, Mancini warned, “emissions reductions will be eviscerated and volatility of prices will increase. More importantly, from a political perspective, hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue will be affected and thousands of jobs lost in parts of the state that are already economically depressed.” (h/t to Midwest Energy News for pointing us to this story)