Are Regulations Responsible for Making Nuclear Power More Expensive?
Please note that this time, a pro-business regulation was responsible for the increased cost.
Here’s an example: In a recent column for Bloomberg, Wolfram described what happened in the 1990s after some U.S. states began deregulating their electricity sectors. Utilities sold off their nuclear reactors to private operators. And, Wolfram found in a recent paper with Lucas Davis, electricity output at these newly privatized reactors increased 10 percent compared with those that stayed in the hands of tightly regulated utilities. That small boost in carbon-free power, she notes, “helped offset more greenhouse gas emissions in the 2000s than all of the wind and solar generation in the country combined.”
In general, subsidies can have a deterrent effect. If we look at nuclear energy, the first man-made nuclear reactor was developed by “pointy-headed intellectuals” and cost $8000; the second man-made nuclear reactor was developed by the same people who now realized they were government employees and cost millions.