EPA Facts

The High Cost of Red Tape:
Nuclear Power

Leading environmental groups constantly talk about the need to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, but most are not in favor of expanding the use of carbon-emission-free nuclear power.

Many of the leading climate change scientists argue that wind and solar can’t provide the world’s energy and that environmentalists should embrace nuclear energy. Four of the top climate change scientists sent a letter to politicians and environmental groups calling for an increased use of nuclear power to meet the worlds’ growing energy needs.

Facts or Emotions?

Environmentalists have tried to warn about the dangers of nuclear power, by arguing that it is unsafe and increases the risk of a terrorist attack. But Dr. Kerry Emanuel, an Atmospheric Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, responded to such criticism of nuclear power:

No energy system is without downsides. We ask only that energy system decisions be based on facts, and not on emotions and biases that do not apply to 21st-century nuclear technology

The Costs

One of the biggest disadvantages with nuclear power, however, is the cost of building a new nuclear energy facility. As The Economist points out, with the abundance of cheap fossil fuels, it hasn’t made fiscal sense to expand America’s use of nuclear power.

While the EPA does not have primary jurisdiction over regulating nuclear power—the Department of Energy determines rules for nuclear power plants and waste disposal—proposed regulations on coal could make the cost of a new power plant using clean coal technology as expensive as a new nuclear plant.