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Watchdog Group: Sun is Setting on Nuclear Power in NC

October 11, 2010

DURHAM, N.C. - Solar and nuclear power now cost about the same to generate, at least in North Carolina. That's according to a study conducted by NC Warn, a nonprofit focusing on climate protection. The group's new report finds that solar and nuclear power production costs are at about 16 cents per kilowatt hour.

Executive director Jim Warren predicts it won't be long before solar power is actually less expensive.

"It's unlikely that new nuclear power could ever be generated for less than 18 or 20 cents, if anyone ever actually completes a project."

There are currently five nuclear power plants across North Carolina, supplying one-third of the state's electricity. Advocates for nuclear power point out that it is an emission-free way of generating power, and the industry creates high-paying jobs.

The U.S. Senate is considering a Renewable Energy Standard that would require 15 percent of the electricity in the country to come from wind and solar generation. This comes as the White House announced solar panels would be installed on the roof of the residence by next spring.

Warren insists the switch to solar power is a must to protect the planet.

"Nationally, the shift to clean energy is happening, but it needs to happen much faster because of these climate tipping points we're getting very close to."

The subsidies that solar power generation currently receives were included when figuring the cost of solar power in the NC Warn report. The full report, "Solar Energy is Now the Better Buy," can be found at www.ncwarn.org.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC