From Greentech Media:

“The prudency of investing in nuclear projects has sharply dimmed in the eyes of regulators and industry,” said Devin Hartman, electricity policy manager at the R Street Institute, a free market think tank.

“There has to be much stronger cost-control incentives for utilities. The regulated monopoly model socializes risk across captive ratepayers, and utility shareholders only face repercussions in cases of gross mismanagement, which is a low performance bar,” said Hartman. “Note that it’s only regulated monopolies facing these ‘mega-project’ cost overruns, while costs are going down in states like Texas that went to the market model.”

Hartman said, aside from reiterating the fallibility of large utilities, that Vogtle and the cancelled V.C. Summer plant were meant to prove the effectiveness of Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactors and the long-range viability of domestic nuclear. “Instead,” he said, “these projects have left a bleak outlook for large, baseload nuclear.”

Small modular reactors, which are quicker to build and faster to deploy, could revive U.S. nuclear if Vogtle folds, according to Hartman. But overall, the R Street Institute argues that nuclear should “compete on its merits” against other technologies. While the delays at Vogtle and the failure of V.C. Summer have cast a pall across the domestic nuclear industry, natural gas remains cheap and renewables have become more economically viable.

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