“The Nuclear Option” (Letters, 3/29) dismisses clean energy as unreliable and too expensive. In fact, solar/wind power now produces 18 percent of U.S. power — about as much as nuclear — and it’s growing 17 percent faster than the overall economy.
Clean energy prices are now as cheap or cheaper than any fossil fuel or nuclear power, in much of the world and the U.S. In Arizona and Colorado, solar/wind are now cheaper than any fossil fuel, with energy storage costs included. Their prices will continue to plummet for the foreseeable future as they scale up, becoming at least 50 percent cheaper by 2030.
In contrast, more than 50 percent of the nuclear power plants in the U.S. last year operated at a loss, losing about $2.9 billion, unable to compete with natural gas or clean energy. Construction of two U.S. nuclear reactors was abandoned last year.
By 2020, natural gas too will be priced out of the market by solar and wind. Solar and wind made up roughly 62 percent of new power construction in 2017, and will surpass nuclear capacity this year.
Like the fossil fuel industry, only government subsidies are keeping the nuclear industry afloat. Renewables get subsidies, too, but they’ve been repaid, making a $37.7 million profit for taxpayers.
And clean energy doesn’t have nuclear’s dangerous “hidden” costs: radioactive waste disposal, decommissioning, proliferation/terrorism/rogue states, etc. So it’s not an attractive option.