Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) is one of the most respected analytical organizations in the energy business. Its founder and current chairman is Daniel Yergin, author of the seminal 1991 book on the oil business titled The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power. That book is one of the most dog eared members of my library collection.
For many years, CERA has been somewhat negative about the economic prospects for the nuclear business. i would characterize their attitude towards the technology as ambivalent, they were more concerned about the numbers, the lack of interest in new development, and the general feeling in the industry that the technology had no future. Some of their members, notably I. C. Bupp, had serious reservations about the specific technological path taken in the first nuclear age (specifically he was not happy with the choice of very large, light water reactors as the dominant technology), but in general CERA did not take a position on whether or not nuclear power should be a future technology. They simply reported that they doubted its prospects.
I cannot point to supporting evidence of the above summary right now – it is based on following the organization for many years, including a failed attempt in a previous act in my life (circa 1995 or so) to become a CERA analyst focusing on nuclear power.
You can now understand why I was so interested when I read the article titled Nuclear power “renaissance” moving beyond talk to real action: CERA. It provides a summary of some very interesting key points that are available in more detail in the full study. (I realized after doing a little fact checking and background that the above link is essentially a direct copy of the CERA press release issued to announce the availability of the study – Nuclear Power “Renaissance” Moving Beyond Talk to Real Action)
I did a cursory look to find out how to order the complete study, but was not successful. It does not seem to have been added to the catalog of available work on the CERA web site. Of course, I probably cannot afford to buy it anyway – CERA studies often cost a couple of thousand dollars each.
The point is that there are some very talented analysts – who probably all have real degrees – who are directly contradicting the FUD that people like Amory Lovins continue to spout about the economic prospects of new nuclear power developments. I particularly like the following line from the press release:
Climate change policies support nuclear expansion – CERA’s long-term scenario work indicates it is very difficult to curtail rapidly rising global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions without expanding nuclear power generation.