New U.S. Nuclear Generation: 2010-2030
Executive Summary (excerpt)
This report analyzes the modeling of the next generation of nuclear capacity in the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS), under the assumptions of the Energy Information Administration (EIA 2009a) authored by the Office of Integrated Analysis and Forecasting (OIAF; see http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/brochures/oiafprod/) with modifications requested by Resources for the Future (RFF) to analyze the cases considered by research under the program, Toward a New National Energy Policy—Assessing the Options. This will be referred to as NEMS-RFF. The report’s key finding is that new nuclear capacity in NEMS-RFF from 2015 to 2020 under the current levels of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees is similar to the marginal increase in new capacity from lowering the nominal return-on-equity (ROE) in NEMS-RFF for new nuclear power from 17 to 14 percent. This equivalence allows for an analysis of the costs and benefits of increasing DOE loan guarantees to new nuclear plants. In particular, based on these results, the present value of federal investment in new nuclear generation can reduce carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) for less than $2/tonne, which is less than most alternatives.