The Economics Failure of Nuclear Power and the Development of a Low Carbon Electricity Future: Why Small Modular Reactors are Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

This paper examines the fundamental choice policymakers are being asked to make. It reviews the prospects for nuclear technology in light of the past and present performance of nuclear power (Section I), assesses the economic and safety challenges that SMR technology faces (Section II) when confronting the alternatives that are available today (Section III), and the trends that are transforming the electricity sector (Section IV).

The paper shows that nuclear power is among the least attractive climate change policy options (too costly, too slow, and too uncertain) and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable.  The paper demonstrates that, worse still, pursuing nuclear power as a focal point of climate policy diverts economic resources and policy development from critically important efforts to accelerate the deployment of solutions that are much more attractive - less costly, less risky, more environmentally benign.