WASHINGTON—The Energy Information Administration today released its 'Annual Energy Outlook 2000,' which speculates that "41 percent of the current nuclear capacity will go out of service by 2020 as operating costs make nuclear power plants uneconomic to maintain." The following statement by Marvin S. Fertel, the Nuclear Energy Institute's senior vice president for nuclear infrastructure, support and international programs, is the nuclear industry's response to EIA's projection.
"New federal government projections of a declining nuclear power supply ignore record levels of safety and efficiency at U.S. nuclear power plants and the inextricable link between clean air and energy policies that the Energy Information Administration acknowledges in its very same report. In its new energy outlook for the country, EIA admits that its 1999 report wrongly forecasted a wave of nuclear plant closings-then makes a similarly flawed forecast for the next 20 years. Again, the agency has it wrong.
"After a decade of performance improvements, America's nuclear power plants are generating electricity safely, efficiently and cost-effectively. The efficiency of nuclear power plants-as measured by capacity factor-stands at a record 87 percent for the first six months of 1999, up from 84 percent for the same period last year. The cost of nuclear-generated electricity has been declining since 1990 and dropped to a low of 2.27 cents per kilowatt-hour in 1997. Studies indicate that many nuclear power plants can further reduce their production costs. Nuclear power plants are not only producing electricity more economically and efficiently, they're also producing much more electricity: Output of nuclear-generated electricity increased 9.5 percent during the first half of 1999, over the same period last year.
"Although EIA recognizes that nuclear power generates electricity without emitting greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants, the agency inexplicably ignores this important benefit as a factor in the industry's future. Nuclear power is America's largest source of clean electricity, and electric utility companies are placing a premium on the environmental value of nuclear power as they consider renewing the licenses of their plants.
"When all of the facts are considered, nuclear power stands out as a competitive generator of clean, economical electricity today-and tomorrow."
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org.