When I was in Santiago I was interviewed by El Mercurio, and fully two-thirds of the questions were on the future of nuclear energy in Chile. Apparently Arriva (EDFs nuclear venture), GE, and Westinghouse are trying to sell nuclear power plants, as well as Russians trying to sell old subs that could be towed to Chile and plugged into the grid. Nuclear energy, in the near term, seems like a long-term prospect anywhere, but especially long-term in Chile, who has gone to an extremely market-oriented approach to electricity planning and investment. Given Chile’s aversion to subsidies and government intervention, I just can’t imagine a private company undertaking the risks of building a nuclear plant. But nuclear still dominates the electricity discussion in Santiago, for unknown reasons.
It’s also important to remember the MIT study on the Future of Nuclear Power from 2003, in which they concluded nuclear power would only make economic sense with very high carbon taxes (or equivalent). We may well get to high carbon prices, but to think nuclear would compete in among today’s supply and demand-side choices is looney.
UPDATE: Joe Romm has published Part 2 in his assessment of nuclear power:
– Nuclear power, Part 2: The price is not right