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According to The High Cost of Nuclear Power, a new report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, the nuclear industry has proposed thirty new reactors across the country at an estimated cost of $300 billion. The report states that if the $300 billion was invested in energy efficiency over the next 20 years the same level of electricity would be used as today even with demand increasing by 20 percent.
“Taxpayers should not be subsidizing nuclear power when there are quicker, cheaper, and cleaner options, such as energy efficiency, to meet our energy needs,” said Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.
The High Cost of Nuclear Power states that per dollar of investment:
• Energy efficiency measures can deliver greater than five times more electricity than nuclear power.
• Combined heat and power (which generates both useful heat and electricity for a factory, a school campus or an office building) can generate nearly four times more energy than nuclear power.
• Wind farms can produce as much as 100 percent more electricity than nuclear power.
• A solar thermal power plant in the southwestern U.S. – capable of storing heat to generate electricity even when the sun is not shining – can deliver as much as one-third more energy than a nuclear reactor.
Brown said, “Nuclear power is among the most costly approaches to solving energy problems. Per dollar of investment, clean energy solutions, such as energy efficiency, deliver far more energy than nuclear power.”
The Arizona PIRG Education Fund recommends the following policies to ensure taxpayers get the best return for their investment:
• State and federal leaders should ensure that energy companies and their shareholders shoulder the financial risk of any new nuclear reactor project, not ratepayers or taxpayers. In particular, regulators should not allow utilities to levy advance charges on consumers in order to finance the construction of a new reactor.
• State and federal leaders should require any company proposing to build a new nuclear reactor to demonstrate that nuclear would be more cost-effective than other ways to meet electricity demand, including energy efficiency, before allowing construction to proceed.
• State and federal leaders should adopt an Energy Efficiency Standard of at least 20% by 2020.
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