If we don’t renew the licenses of most of our nuclear power plants for an additional 20 years, bringing their lifetimes up to 80 years, we will have no hope of significantly curbing fossil fuel use in America. While renewables are increasing rapidly in the United States, hydro and nuclear are still the cheapest and most prolific energy sources that offset significant amounts of fossil fuels, and will be for at least 20 more years. Nuclear alone produces more power than hydro, wind, solar and geothermal combined, at an average cost of about 4¢/kWh. Both hydro and nuclear plants have long-term lives and most units are expected to exceed 80 years. Large hydro like Grand Coulee and Hoover are expected to substantially exceed 100 years. Having these units last so long is a critical component of getting to a clean energy future and a major element in the cost savings needed to achieve that future. Maintaining existing nuclear plants cuts the cost of producing electricity in half relative to installing new units of either hydro or nuclear, and cuts costs even more relative to installing new wind and solar. Maintaining existing nuclear is also cheaper than installing new natural gas plants even with our amazingly low gas prices.
Forbes 23rd Feb 2016 read more »