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Articles by Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper is a Senior Research Fellow for Economic Analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment; his current project is Energy Assessment. Dr. Cooper holds a PhD from Yale University and is a former Yale University and Fulbright Fellow.

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For 50 years, nuclear advocates have been promising that future costs of reactors will come down. A new report this week from MIT calls on Congress to place a very big bet on that proposition. It recommends that the “implementation of the first mover program of incentives should be accelerated” but “the incentive program should not be extended beyond the first movers (first 7-10 plants) since we believe that nuclear energy should be able to compete on the open market as should other energy options. “

The report is only the latest in a series from MIT that grossly underestimates the likely cost of new nuclear reactors and overestimates the ability of the industry to operate on its own without heavy reliance on French-style government subsidies. In reality, the cost of these so-called “first mover” reactors is likely to be in the range of $70 billion to $100 billion. Further, there is little chance that nuclear reactors will ever be able to compete on the open market; they never have.

In a recent analysis, (“Policy Challenges of Nuclear Reactor Construction: Cost Escalation and Crowding Out Alternatives“), I examined th... Read more