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Solar Cheaper than Grid Nuclear? Think Again!

By Daren Bakst and Carlo Stagnaro -- October 20, 2010

Several months ago, a study by the anti-nuclear group North Carolina Waste Awareness Network (NC WARN) gained worldwide exposure by concluding that solar power is cheaper today than  nuclear power.

The New York Times ran an article highlighting the findings, but the article was so criticized that the newspaper’s editors responded with what amounted to an apology.

NC WARN’s startling, untenable conclusion is the subject of this post, which is based on a longer paper.

The group’s central graph (Figure 1), which took the media hook, line, and sinker, shows a steep decreasing cost curve for solar over time coupled with a pronounced increasing cost curve for nuclear.


Figure 1. Generation costs from solar and nuclear power according to Blackburn and Cunningham (2010).

But nuclear power is less, not more, expensive than solar power.…