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Utilities are mostly free to build nuclear power plants. They don't because a) they can afford the construction cost, and b) they can't afford the insurance cost. So the nuclear industry says "no problem, we'll just ask the government to subsidize the construction cost and pass laws to shield you from liability". But they are finding that the "public risk - private profit" paradigm doesn't sell so well anymore for some reason.



Here in Missouri, Ameren tried for years to get the CWIP-financing ban [0] overturned so that rate-payers would build a new nuclear plant rather than investors. In a rare victory for representative government, they spun their wheels until the dropping price of natural gas made the whole exercise academic. They're hoping that other fuels will simultaneously peak at some point so they can lock their customers into decades of expensive power, but it won't be anytime soon.

[0] Why is there a ban, you ask? Because the first nuclear plant they built, in the 1970s, had such catastrophic cost overruns that the entire state swore, "never again".




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