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Nuke Economics Improving

Fortnightly Magazine - October 1 1995

A recent Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) report, Sharpening the Competitive Edge, finds that, by focusing on improved economic performance and undertaking a range of individual and industry initiatives, utilities reduced nuclear plant operating and maintenance (O&M) expenses by 8 percent between 1994 and 1995. Electric utilities that operate nuclear plants have launched a number of initiatives to reduce O&M costs even further, without compromising safety or reliability.The report found average nuclear power production costs (2.15 cents per kilowatt-hour (›/Kwh) only marginally higher than coal (1.97›/Kwh), but less than natural gas (3.4›/Kwh), oil (3.41›/Kwh), and renewable energy sources excluding wind power (2.87›/Kwh). [Production costs include O&M expenses and the cost of fuel.]

Annual expenditures on capital requirements at operating nuclear plants have also dropped dramatically, the report notes, from $60 to $70 per kilowatt in the mid-1980s to $20 to $30 per kilowatt in the early 1990s.

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