Survey of Markets for Nuclear Power in Western North America


Authors: Pedro Mena, R. A. Borrelli, and Leslie Kerby
Page Range: 17-53
Published in: International Journal of Energy, Environment, and Economics, Volume 29 Issue 1
ISSN: 1054-853X

Table of Contents


Nuclear power can be a polarizing form of energy. Public perception has made it difficult to construct new facilities and retain existing ones. The difficulty of constructing new facilities and high capital costs have slowed the expansion of nuclear power in the United States. Despite this, there are advantages that make nuclear power attractive, such as carbon-free emissions, especially with the development of small modular reactors. While this concept has led many to believe in a nuclear renaissance, little or no discussion has been done on where these new plants will be located and who will be the end customers for the produced electricity. This paper analyzes markets in western North America to determine which markets could be potential consumers of nuclear power, as well as which markets would be viable sites. Factors that were considered included state and local legislation, as it relates to energy use and produc- tion, the current energy portfolio within each market and the amount each market imports and exports. This study will show that California, Oregon, Nevada and Alberta are viable markets to purchase nuclear power, while Idaho and Utah are viable sites for new nuclear facilities based on these factors. Washing- ton, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming are markets where either, the construction of new facilities or the expansion of currents ones, could be viable as new designs mature. The markets of British Columbia, Colorado, and New Mexico do not appear viable markets to purchase electricity due to the availability of low-priced alternatives, existing energy mix and regulations. This work intends to establish a framework for credible expansion of nuclear power in Western North America.

Keywords: nuclear power, electricity markets, energy legislation, market analysis, energy policy, small modular reactors

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