Dinner with Dan: Episode 3 – “But what about nuclear? That’s reliable!”

In our 3rd video series “Dinner with Dan” we tackle the question many solar skeptics like our fictitious “Uncle Bob” pose: “What about nuclear? It’s reliable and runs all the time, right?” Here’s the scoop: we like nuclear’s zero carbon energy and high-capacity factor. There are just two major issues – waste and cost.

Since Uncle Bob may not care about polluting the plant with toxic radioactive waste for hundreds of years, we respond entirely with ECONOMICS that impact his wallet:

  1. A new unsubsidized nuclear plant: $180 / MWh
  2. A new unsubsidized solar plant: $60 / MWh
  3. And if you add batteries to the solar plant to get through the evening peak, the solar + battery plant is about $75/MWh – well under half the cost of the nuke, and far lower risk to develop, build, finance, and operate.

No wonder only a few new nuclear plants have been commissioned in the last 30 years in the US.

Shout out to Lazard for the amazing work they have completed on apples-to-apples comparisons of unsubsidized LCOE (levelized cost of energy) https://lnkd.in/g5EcXPCx

There’s buzz around new designs for modular nuclear plants. As an environmentalist, I hope they are successful, and have a solution to the waste issue. Cost numbers I have reviewed indicate they are very expensive…so not sure this approach can be counted on. Meanwhile solar, wind, and battery storage are scaling exponentially…and cost falling rapidly.

If you missed our last video “Renewable Power, that’s not reliable!”, check it out here!


And please keep your great comments coming!